A Falklanders’ view

11 Mar

From an interview with Dick Sawle MLA, published in the Buenos Aires Herald. Stanley

The Argentine government has already stated that it considers this referendum to be “illegal”, what happens now?
 
I would like to know under what legislation the Argentine Government calls it illegal. We approved it under our own laws here at the Falklands and I was told that there is a meeting in the Argentine Congress on Wednesday to discuss its rejection. For a referendum that is illegal and for voters that don’t exist, they appear to be paying it a lot of attention.
 
What kind of impact do you think the referendum will have on those countries which have expressly supported Argentina in this matter?
 
The referendum is an exercise of the fundamental right of self-determination, which at the same time is a fundamental human right endorsed by the United Nations Charter. I hope that any country that holds the principles of modern democracy would listen to the result of the referendum and take notes of it, and that those countries that have so far remained neutral will come down in our favour.
 
I assume the US is one of those countries you’re referring to. What are your thoughts on the Obama administration’s decision to remain neutral in this matter?
 
The White House maintains a neutral position but they haven’t said they will remain neutral. In fact, John Kerry said he wanted to wait and see what the result of the referendum was. I read that as meaning that the US wants to hear what the result of the referendum is and that the United States may – and I certainly hope they will – change their position. I believe that all countries that hold modern democracies at heart should take notion of our wishes here.
 
You also mentioned the UN. How do you reconcile the right to self-determination with the fact that the international organization has called for both sides to reignite negotiations?
 
That UN resolution comes from 1965. Back in the 70s the UK and Argentina did in fact talk to each other about the Falklands and those talks did progress quite a long way down to all sorts of various political schemes which wouldn’t have pleased the islanders. Until Argentina invaded the islands in 1982.
 
Was the war a game changer?
 
It was. It’s a shameful event. Many young people lost their lives on both sides. And since that time we have developed as an overseas territory. We’ve had three constitutional developments. Each one of them devolved into more authority to the islands’ government rather than the British government. Now we are completely self-governing except for areas of defence and foreign affairs. The situation now is completely different, so when the UN talks about our interests it is very clear that the only people who can decide on them are the people of the Falklands.
 
Hypothetically speaking, what do you think the outcome would have been had the war never taken place? Do you think those talks would have come to fruition?
 
It’s a very interesting point. Back then people felt that the islands were being sold from underneath their feet. There was a big reaction towards Britain and Argentina. The islanders were very cross that both parties were talking about their future without listening to the Falklanders themselves.
 
Do the islanders feel threatened by Argentina?
 
We’ve been threatened by Argentina at least for the last 5 years. Argentina refuses to allow charter flights over their airspace, they threatened a fishing company that had interests in both Argentina and the islands, and tried to ban ships with a Falkland Islands flag from entering any South American port. You know all these actions are not going to make people here very fond of Argentina.

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7 Responses to “A Falklanders’ view”

  1. Don Alberto March 12, 2013 at 1:25 am #

    The Argentine harrassment of the Falkland Islanders is disgraceful and completely counterproductive.

  2. Nico March 12, 2013 at 9:20 pm #

    The historical reconstruction is woefully incomplete, as the city of Buenos Aires was invaded by the United Kingdom in 1806 and again 1807, both times unsuccessfully.

    I believe that to get in the role of victims will not help the social rapprochement between the two cultures (Falklanders and Argentiniens).

    thanks.

    • Don Alberto March 12, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

      In 1806 and 1807 Britain attacked the Spanish colony in Buenos Aires while Spain and Britain was engaged in a war.

      • Nico March 13, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

        Similarly in 1982 Argentina invaded a British colony, not an independent state.

        “Considering that freedom, justice and peace in the world are based on the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family”.

        It’s not fair to cite the 1982 invasion omitting events of 1806 and 1807.

        Finally do not “beating a dead horse”.

        Thanks.

      • Junius March 14, 2013 at 12:21 am #

        Then you accept that the Falklands are a colony – and therefore entitled to the right of self-determination under the UN’s Charter?

      • Nico March 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

        Junio:
        Of course, in my role as a simple citizen, I support the “decolonization”, but without attacking the historical truth or institutional faith Argentina.

        Don alberto:
        In 1806 were 45 days.
        In 1807 the war lasted about six months with about 9000 soldiers recruited by the army Rio Platense. Moreover, it took the city of Montevideo, which was later released.

        So, neither was significant, the confrontation on 1982.

      • Don Alberto March 14, 2013 at 12:48 am #

        The events in and around Buenos Aires was a small incident in the napoleonic war, where Britain attacked an ENEMY’s colony.

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