Saturday, March 31, 2012

Latin America to test Obama's commitment to his official position on the Malvinas/Falklands

Argentine President Cristina Fernández is planning to present Argentina's case for the cession of the Malvinas Islands (Falklands) by Brtain on July 14 before the UN Committee on Decolonization, according to Fernando Cibeira in La perdida perla austral Página 12 31.02.2012. Cibeira writes that the President's attendance is a diplomatic escalation (my translation):

It is nothing usual. Including the fact that it is strange even for chancellors to appear; that a president is doing so is highly unusual. Traditionally, Argentina sends descendants of the original population expelled from the islands to the British do the same with kelper leaders ["kelpers" are current residents of the Malvinas Islands]. They render their arguments and later the representatives of the countries do the same, although the United Kingdom prefers not to speak in face of the obviously foregone conclusion of the vote in opposition that they will receive. CFK [President Fernández] plans to travel together with a delegation of opposition leader to demonstrates that the demand constitutes a policy of state. In this sense, in the government it highlights the orphanhood in which the intellectuals remain who signed an "alternative version" of the conflict which has not received the support of any political party.
The "alternative vision" referred to was a statement by some opposition leaders and intellectuals that essentially supports the British position that the current overwhelmingly British population of the Malvinas should have the final decision on their national affiliation. (Juan Ignacio Irigaray, Se agrieta el sentimiento 'malvinero' en Argentina El Mundo 21.02.2102)

Cibeira reports that Cristina's government is making Malvinas-related issues far more prominent in international forums as part of her diplomatic offensive demanding that Britain open formal negotiations over the status of the Malvinas. At the conference on nuclear security in South Korea, Héctor Timerman demanded that Britain reveal whether it had a nuclear submarine in the South Atlantic, which Britain refused to do, even though it is prohibited by the Tlatelolco Treaty from introducing nuclear weapons to the area.

At the Summit of the Americas April 14-15 in Cartegena, Colombia, Argentina and other Latin American nations will raise the issue in an attempt to pressure the United States into asserting its formal position in support of Argentine-British negotiations more firmly.

Britain seized the Malvinas back in 1833 and has held them ever since. Argentina has never recognized Britain's claim to the islands. Since the territory includes drilling rights to substantial offshore oil reserves, Argentina is likely to keep actively pressing its rights there, including legal actions against firms drilling for oil under British agreements. Cristina's Administration has articulated clearly that they are pursuing their claims by non-military means, which has wrong-footed Britain diplomatically because David Cameron's government has indulged in military saber-rattling in response. Sad to say, the opposition Labour Party is backing Cameron's position on refusing to negotiate.

Cristina has assembled an impressive Latin American coalition of support for the Argentine position on the Malvinas. (Causa común de todos los latinoamericanos Página 12 31.03.2012)

April 2 of this year will be the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Malvinas war, in which the Argentine military dictatorship of the time seized the Malvinas by force, initiating war with Britain under Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher. Active fighting continued until June 14, 1982. Only after the war did Britain first grant British citizenship to residents born in the Malvinas, though it had been held by Britain continuously since 1833.

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