In an interview with Latin American outlet El Comercio, Guillermo Carmona, secretary of Malvinas – the islands’ Spanish name – identified it as a colonial legacy given they still belong to Great Britain. The 40th anniversary of the Falklands War is in 2022. The conflict lasted 10 weeks between April and June 1982. Fighting over these weeks cost the lives of more than 900 military personnel.
The Argentine government has reiterated their belief to El Comercio that the UK government should open negotiations on the status of the self-governing British overseas territory.
They have launched what is known as the ‘Malvinas 40 Years Agenda’, which Mr Carmona called “an inter-ministerial roundtable with three pillars”.
He explained: “The first is the reaffirmation of Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas with a major diplomatic deployment in all countries where Argentina has diplomatic representation, and above all in international and regional organisations.
“The second pillar is the commemoration of the heroic acts of our fallen in Malvinas, and the homage and recognition of our veterans.
“The third pillar has to do with demonstrating Argentina’s effective action in the exercise of its sovereignty in areas that are not disputed.”
He added: “It is an agenda that will be very much geared towards making the Malvinas issue not only a national cause, but also a regional cause and a global one in the face of the last vestiges of colonialism, which is the case of the Malvinas Islands.”
Mr Carmona positioned the Malvinas territorial dispute in a contemporary context.
He suggested that, throughout 40 years since the end of the war, the world may have changed along with issues fuelling the Falklands sovereignty dispute – but “Argentina has never abandoned its sovereignty claim”.
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Mr Carmona added: “There were negotiations between Argentina and the United Kingdom before the Malvinas War (1982), and the United Kingdom has refused to resume them, so the current government has proposed the need to reposition the Malvinas issue as a way of proposing to the United Kingdom that we generate instances of dialogue.
“The situation in the world demands it.”
He claimed: “The United Kingdom is militarising the South Atlantic. There is a situation of illegal action in terms of Argentine legislation, but also in terms of international law, hydrocarbon activity and fishing depredation. It is an anachronistic situation in the 21st century.”
In the article, Mr Carmona is asked whether the renewed attempts to rally Argentines around the issue of the Falklands deliberately coincide with low approval ratings for President Alberto Fernandez – an accusation Mr Carmona rebuked.
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However, Dr Christopher Sabatini, senior research fellow for Latin America, US and the Americas Programme at think tank Chatham House, told Express.co.uk: “Unfortunately – and it is unfortunate – Argentine governments, when they’re feeling threatened or politically with their backs against the wall in terms of domestic politics, they turn to the one thing that nationalistically people will rally around the flag for, and that’s the Falklands.”
Part of the reason the issue of the Falkland Islands can be hijacked for domestic political support in Argentina, suggests Dr Sabatini, is because it matters much more to the people of Argentina.
Dr Sabatini said: “I’m always struck whenever I go to Argentina.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone from the UK mention it when they talk about Latin America, except in the sense of, well, what are we going to do?
“Whereas in Argentina, they still refer to it, they still refer to their heroes from the Falklands War.
“It is still very much on their minds, whereas for most Brits that I’ve spoken to, it’s a resolved issue.
“It’s not on the table, it’s not up for negotiation, it’s simply something that they can approach in a way that could be addressed in a way without any drama.”
However, Mr Carmona insisted: “The issue is not closed because Argentina persists in its claim, the UN insists that there is a colonial situation that has to be resolved, and because the international community in general points out that it is an open issue.
“The British have maintained their refusal of the decolonisation process in the 1960s and 1970s, but in those years decolonisation progressed in Africa and Asia.
“Very few cases of colonialism exist, and most are of places in the world that are occupied by the UK.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.