Argentina’s Caribbean Support Qualified

9 Feb

Following the ALBA conference of left-wing American and Caribbean States last weekend, Hector Timerman, Argentina’s Foreign Minister, made an announcement thanking those who attended for supporting the Argentine ban of Falkland flagged vessels.

A statement from the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs said several Caribbean states and Nicaragua would bar, from their ports, any vessel flying the Falkland Islands flag in a move similar to that of Mercosur which imposed a ban last December. “Today, Caracas is witness that Malvinas has become a cause of the entire Latin America and the Caribbean and shows Argentina is not alone in its legitimate claims,” Timmerman said.

However today comes a report that Minister Timerman may have been playing fast and loose with the truth as the Antigua Government, by way of a press statement, disassociated Antigua & Barbuda from his statements. In a brief statement the government sought to disassociate the twin-island nation from the reported decision of ALBA, saying its stance on the 180-year-old dispute between Argentina and Britain over the Falkland Islands is consistent with the Caribbean Community (Caricom).

The press release said, “Antigua and Barbuda has never supported any call for the banning of flagships from any country in the region and therefore disassociates itself from any statement regarding the banning of ships carrying the flag of the Falklands (Malvinas) from entering our ports.”

The announcement coming out of the ALBA summit contradicted regional reports from the recent UK-Caribbean Forum held in Grenada, which said Caribbean heads of governments and ministers agreed to, “ support the principle and the right to self-determination for all peoples, including the Falkland Islanders, recognising the historical importance of self-determination in the political development of the Caribbean, and its core status as an internationally agreed principle under the United Nations Charter.”

Formed in 2004, ALBA – the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas – is a hemispheric integration programme initiated by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The ALBA nations include Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Cuba, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Venezuela.

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