Argentina’s continued claim on Falkland Island has taken yet another interesting turn following an open letter to UK prime minister, David Cameron. The letter, penned by Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchne, was published on Thursday by the British press. President Kirchne claims that the UK snatched the islands away from Argentina 180 years ago and is calling for the UK to hand back the land. In addition, she is accusing the UK for what she describes as ‘blatant colonialism’. A copy of the letter was also sent to U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Here is a sneak peak of some of the notable parts of the letter
‘The Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule. Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity.’
A seemingly persistent Kirchne was noted to have quoted a 1965 U.N resolution that invited both Argentina and Britain to negotiate the sovereignty row. She also urged the British to abide by the resolution. In the same breadth, the British instantly rejected the idea of negotiations, citing that the Falkland Islanders had made a conscious decision to be British.
Through a statement, the British foreign office claims that the whole Falkland situation touches on the fundamental rights of all peoples, citing the U.N charter. “There are three parties to this debate, not just two as Argentina likes to pretend. The islanders can’t just be written out of history,” says the statement. The statement also notes that questions on the sovereignty of the island could only hold weight when the islanders themselves wished. A member of the Legislative Assembly of the Falkland Islands, Barry Elsby shared insight on the matter. “Our relationship with the United Kingdom is by choice.” said the law maker. “we are not a colony,” he added.
No love lost
While it may seem strange that Argentina and Britain have chosen to usher in the new year with controversy, there is in fact no love lost between the two. Disputes over the Falkland Islands have been recurrent in the past, most notably in 1982 when Argentina invaded the island. The invasion was succeeded by swift military action under the stern command of the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, better known as the ‘iron lady’. The war claimed more than 800 lives, 255 of which were British and 645 Argentinians. The Falkland Island, which is currently home to around 3000 people, raises its own taxes but depends on the UK for foreign policy and defense.