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Argentine hypocrisy: Falklanders’ right to self-determination is all that matters



The national press might have given Argentina space for their ‘official’ position in the argument, but it’s a position that smacks of hypocrisy. They’re determined not to let this issue drop are Argentina.

The Sun’s response to tell Argentina to “back off” when President Kirchner returned the Falklands row to the agenda last month is a standing many Britons should share.

Argentinian foreign minister, Hector Timerman says there won’t be a military response. But he refers to the discussions between London and Buenos Aires over the Falklands as a ‘conflict’. Interesting choice of word when there is no desire to include the military, don’t you think? How can Argentina condemn the UK for being colonialist in the 21st century when they are now claiming they will ‘control’ the islands in 20 years? The very use of the word control is political code for the colonialism they claim the UK is exercising when it just isn’t.

The Falklanders right to vote as to who they ‘belong’ to is the only thing that matters. Elected representatives of the islands also have the moral right to be involved with discussions even if it is not officially in United Nations resolutions. In the 2012 census of the islands 29% of Falklanders identified themselves as ‘British’ while 59% said they were ‘Falkland Islanders’. In the census results displayed in a dataset produced by The Guardian, there are no figures that represent islanders identifying themselves with Argentina.

With nobody saying they are Argentinian, the very claim to control the islands is colonial in nature. Taking over a population, removing their identity and enforcing (or controlling) that population under your own rule of law is what colonialism is and sounds very much what Argentina are outlining.

There is really only mention of the Falklands in Britain when Argentina get involved. Britain seems quite happy with how Falklanders run themselves. The UK’s only involvement is providing military support and guiding foreign policy. Everything else the Falklanders run themselves. They have their own elected assembly that makes laws and their own judicial system. There will be a referendum in March on whether Falklanders want to remain a British Overseas Territory; it isn’t even a British colony anyway. Hopefully that will send a clear message to Argentina. But Timerman this week told MPs in London that Buenos Aires would not recognise the referendum.

They don’t believe Falklanders even exist but say they are British citizens living in disputed territory. Therefore, they have no place in the debate on their future. That’s wrong in my book. Timerman has spouted UN conventions saying that only the two parties are to be involved – he believes Argentina and the UK are those parties.

But what about the people who this is going to affect most, the islanders themselves? It is their future that’s disputed after all. Naturally, Falklanders who had been due to meet Timerman in London this week have been left “disappointed but hardly surprised” by developments. The UN has strong views on citizens having their own right to self-determination – the idea that they should have their own say in their future, which is why the referendum is so important to the dispute and is should be the only thing that matters.

If Argentina wants to play the anti-colonial card then they must look no further than the referendum’s results, which Britain is backing. But it looks unlikely that Argentina will. However, with the Argentinians claiming they will ignore the referendum’s outcome, what is the next course of action going to be? Surely Argentina wouldn’t try sending an invasion force over again? But I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if they did and British forces became involved in another fight for the islands. That though is an entirely different issue, and a discussion for another day.

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1 Comment

  1. Very interesting article. The right to self-determination is what should matter on the international scene, and the rights of the British citizens there are paramount. The referendum is crucial and should settle it for quite a while.

    I don’t see another Falklands War breaking out any time soon.


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