Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman has held a meeting this week with two former leaders of Panama, Arístides Royo and Martín Torrijos, both of whom are members of a group supporting Argentina’s claim to the Falkland Islands.
Torrijos commented that, as Panama is due to hold the Secretariat of the Ibero-American Summit in 2013, there would be an opportunity to work on the Argentine claim. He also emphasised the importance of COPPPAL (Permanent Conference of Political Parties from Latin America and the Caribbean) as a means of supporting, “Argentina’s legitimate rights over the Falklands.”
On a tour of Central America, the Argentine Minister thanked the people responsible for creating the support group in Panama before meeting with his opposite number in that country, Foreign Minister Roberto Henríquez.
Panama, Mexico and Chile now all have pressure groups which support Argentina’s claim to the South Atlantic archipelago, in many cases consisting of ex-officials and diplomats that have worked in Argentina.
Argentina’s claims date back to 1833, although there have been long periods of time since then that Argentina appeared to accept the status quo. The British claim goes back further, long before Argentina existed as a nation State, to 1690. A military garrison was established on the Islands in 1766, which caused a rift with Spain and brought the two countries close to war. Spain backed down, and Britain remained until 1874, when trouble in the American colonies required the garrison’s presence elsewhere. Britain re-established control in 1833, ejecting a trespassing garrison from Buenos Aires which had only been on the islands for 2 months. The settlers remained.
2012 sees the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, when Britain defeated Argentina’s second attempt at invasion.