In February a number of intellectuals, historians and journalists put their names to an open letter questioning the policies of Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez, and her attitude towards the Falkland Islanders rights. The unofficial, but obvious, blockade imposed by Argentina aimed at starving the Islanders from their home, the threats to air services and claims of unity amongst all the nations of the south cone have all been questioned lately.
One of the people who signed the open letter was Fernando Iglesias, who is quoted in the Daily Telegraph newspaper this week as saying, “Kirchner is completely cynical about this… People think we are going to get the Falklands back in some months or years. They say, ‘The whole continent is with us and the Kelpers (islanders) won’t have tomatoes to eat.’ This is very close to the delusions of President Galtieri.”
A former delegate and a member of one of Argentina’s fringe political parties, Iglesias has a very different view to that of his President; “.. do they really want the Malvinas back? I don’t think so. They want to argue about the Falklands for ever, and so ignore the problems of Argentine society. This is a country that blames everyone except itself for its problems, and the Malvinas are convenient for that.”
It is not as though Argentina does not have enough problems to deal with. Having defaulted on its national debts 12 years ago, the country appears to be booming, but the reality is not what can be seen on the surface. Argentina still has problems accessing international finance as a result of the default, and inflation is reported to be above 25%. Even the proclaimed unity with its neighbours is showing cracks. Brazil and Uruguay are both complaining about trading restrictions that go against the concept of the Mercosur organisation and Uruguay and Chile have publicly refused to assist in any blockade. On top of that, Argentina is increasingly in dispute with foreign investor countries such as Spain.
The Falkland Islands have been British since 1765. Perhaps the time is coming when the political rhetoric will cease and abler minds will turn to Argentina’s real problems.