Argentina’s Faulty View of History

6 Feb

Hector Timerman, Argentina’s Foreign Minister has leapt to his country’s defence in the battle for the history of the Falkland Islands by contributing an article to El Murcurio, the Chilean newspaper which recently published the views of the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague.

In a dramatic rewriting of history, Timerman told El Murcurio that William Hague; “made a series of remarks that distorted historical facts. He does not take into account that there were 32 Spanish Governors on Malvinas between 1774 and 1811, and that once the first Argentine Government was established, recognized by the United Kingdom in 1825, the policy of sending governors to the Malvinas was continued by the Buenos Aires authorities.”

Referring to the British expulsion of an illegal Argentine garrison in 1833, Timerman added;  “It was an act of aggression in line with the global policy carried out by the British Empire in the XIX Century. Since then the Argentine Republic has protested continuously and repeatedly for this subjugation of its sovereignty.”

Argentina’s Foreign Minister has his own distorted grasp of history, as he assumes that Argentina inherited Spain’s claims when independence was declared in 1816. Spain’s King at that time, Ferdinand VII, certainly never saw it that way, maintaining his own claim till his death in 1833. It was not until 1863 that Spain relinquished its rights to East Falkland Island, marked by a diplomatic visit that year by Admiral Luiz Hernández de Pinzón, who fired a salute to the British flag.

This concept of ‘inheritance’ is not recognised in international law. It is a little like stealing from you mother, and then claiming that you were the beneficiary anyway.

Britain did conclude a commercial Treaty with Buenos Aires in 1825, but did not recognise any of the revolting ex-colony’s borders. Britain even reassured King Ferdinand, who has accused the British of violating his rights; ” ..  Against what will Spain protest? It has been proved that no Treaties are violated by us; and we admit that no question of right is decided by our recognition of the New States of America.”

As for 1833, Argentina had sent an armed force to seize the Falklands in full knowledge of Britain’s claim which they had been made aware of in 1829. They knew what they were doing, so they can hardly complain that a small British force suggested they leave again. 1982 was their second attempt to take the archipelago by force.

Buenos Aires did initially protest, but the dispute came to an end in 1849 with the signing of a Treaty that claimed to resolve all differences. The matter was not seriously raised again until the 1930’s.

Hector Timerman, and indeed much of Argentina, is clearly in need of a history lesson.


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