Kirchner’s Argentina: externalising domestic tensions

Cristina Fernandez-Kirchner, the President of Argentina, started the year in typical fashion by publishing an ‘open letter’ in the Guardian and the Independent, calling for negotiations over the status of the Falkland Islands.

In the letter Fernandez Kirchner argues that the islands were stripped from Argentina in an act of 19th Century colonialism:

“The Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule. Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity.”

The letter ends: 

“In the name of the Argentine people, I reiterate our invitation for us to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations.”

The historical account put forward by Argentina differs starkly not only from the one on the Foreign Office website, but also general consensus. Ironically, Argentina itself was settled as an act of Nineteenth Century colonialism. It’s like asking the spanish-descended Argentinians to bugger off home, and leave the indigenous peoples in peace.

It is tempting to ask why the Guardian and the Independent published the ‘letter’. However, they are two of Britain’s more forward-thinking newspapers, and advertising income is advertising income, even if it comes from the Argentine Government.

If I was an Argentine citizen, I would be wondering how come my President could find not only the time to worry about publishing an ‘open letter’ in British newspapers, but also how the Argentine Treasury could afford to fund such a grandiose publicity stunt.

The British Government, quite rightly, points out that the Falklands is not a colony, and its relationship with the Falkland Islands is by choice of the islanders, not coercion. Therefore, not only is there nothing for the UK Government to negotiate over, but the islanders have a universal human right, enshrined in the very basic UN principles, to determine their own government and sovereignty.

The answer as to why the issue keeps re-appearing, as so often with latin american politics, lies within. Listed below are just a few of the news stories regarding Argentina from the BBC website in the past few months:

Widespread unrest and looting in Argentina; troops deployed

Seized Argentine Navy ship leaves Ghana

IMF data deadline looms for Argentine fagile economy

Argentina wins court delay over debt

Argentina default over debt likely

So… rioting on the streets and supermarkets being looted; Navy ship seized in a foreign port over unpaid debts; the IMF questioning Argentine honesty regarding financial data; and the possibility of a default over foreign debt… still wondering why Fernandez-Kirchner is trying to divert the attention of her people outside the country’s borders? It’s an ever-present in Argentine politics – when there are problems, the Malvinas issue is dragged out. It’s route one politics and not all that indistinguishable from Galtieri’s methodology in 1982.


Filed under Falklands War, Uncategorized

14 responses to “Kirchner’s Argentina: externalising domestic tensions

  1. NEO

    Your exactly right, all the way around the barn, but does your government to handle it this time, ours sure doesn’t.

  2. I’m not surprised CFK is going back to this routine again. Considering the crappy economic condition the country is in, she needs attention elsewhere. And I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t some “local” friction as well, helping push this. I know there’s been problems with Uruguay over the river Platte’s waters, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find some tensions with Brazil. And with Hugo Chavez and Ecuador now an unknown, and Colombia trying to get its’ legal house in order, I’m thinking CFK isn’t finding many friends down South America way.
    By the by, I know I’m out of order here. I’m trying to recover from several days offline while we dug out from 3 consecutive ice-then-snow storms since Christmas. I’m already tired of winter, and the worst is yet to come!
    Hope you, and all your readers (yeah, I’m lookin’ at you two, WEBF and X 😉 ) had a good New Year!

  3. Scott Daly

    Personally I like the fact that the independent and the guardian published this. Free Speech is all about allowing someone to express their opinion, then having an open and honest debate about it.

  4. x

    There are 255 very good reasons why The Guardian’s action is beyond contempt. And 383,800 reasons why you don’t abuse the principle of free speech.

  5. The letter does show the faulty reasoning contained in the Argentine case.

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