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The Malvinas – 21st century colonial enclave

03/02/12

Below we reprint an article by Laura Bécquer Paseiro, originally published in Cuban daily Granma, which analyses imperialist interest in the Malvina islands off the coast of Argentina.

Once again the British government has reacted arrogantly to Argentina’s claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and South Sandwich islands. The United Kingdom is maintaining its recalcitrant attitude of rejecting any kind of dialogue. In a recent statement to the BBC, Prime Minister David Cameron discounted negotiations and stated that the country would always maintain vigilance over the islands located on the continental shelf of South America.

Argentina, Malvinas and Britain

The United Kingdom has occupied these territories since 1833, failing to comply with UN resolutions stating the need for dialogue as a way of reaching an understanding. However, Argentina is reclaiming the islands as an integral and indivisible area of its territory illegally occupied by a foreign power. In that context it considers them part of the province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands, where they are located together with South Georgia, South Sandwich and the South Orkneys in the South Atlantic Islands Department. The dispute also covers maritime areas adjacent to the islands.

The British position has a number of readings. On one hand the islands’ strategic importance for future expansion plans in Antarctica, a key element in reclaiming privileged positions. On another, the 60 billion barrels of crude oil which, according to preliminary studies, could lie within this island territory, a very attractive proposition given increasingly depleted oil reserves.

Added to specific British interests is the constant presence of the United States in matters of foreign interference. In this case, the latter’s double standards are blatant. Despite the “America for the Americans” of the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, the United States openly supported Britain during the 1982 Anglo-Argentine war over the Malvinas. Its objective: to underpin UK domination of an area which is part of the NATO integrated defense system, plus its own military plans in the South Atlantic.

Washington’s backing for Britain demonstrated the farce of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (Rio Treaty), through which all countries in the inter-American region were obliged to reject any invasion on the part of a country outside it. Article 3.1 established that any armed attack by any state on one American state would be considered as an attack on all of them. The Rio Treaty has been invoked on at least 20 occasions, but only in accordance with White House interests.

The peoples of the Americas are making the historic Argentine claim their own. A recent example, the declaration adopted at the MERCOSUR Summit, attests to that. Brazil, Chile and Uruguay ratified their support for Argentina’s call to prevent vessels using the Malvinas flag from docking in their ports, thus refuting assurances by British Foreign Minister William Hague that the governments of these three nations had committed themselves not to comply with this request.

Given frustrated negotiation proposals, pressure and even threats of intensifying the conflict, it is clear that the Malvinas will continue being a 21st century colonial enclave and that the Republic of Argentina has every right to reclaim its sovereignty over them.

 

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