"We wish to reaffirm our appreciation for this man's strategic, patriotic and pragmatic work undertaken from the southern region of Argentina, which represents a long-term vision developed since the 1950s and a career of service and commitment to our country" stated Foreign Minister Jorge Faurie as he presided over the ceremony of tribute to Ernesto Manuel Campos, who was Governor of the Province of Tierra del Fuego three times and worked tirelessly towards the recognition of Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, South Georgias, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas.
At the Palacio San Martín, in a room full of Campos' relatives and friends, the Foreign Minister explained: "With this ceremony, we also wish to deepen Campos' vision on the potential of the southern region of Argentina, and its influence on the South Atlantic and Antarctica. He did an amazing job at Malvinas, especially focusing on clearly reaffirming Argentine sovereignty over the Islands. His work includes positive actions that helped create trust and establish the importance of maintaining rational bonds between the Islands and the mainland."
Faurie recalled that Campos promoted several projects with regard to university education for the inhabitants of the Islands on the Argentine mainland, livestock trade between the Islands and the mainland, the creation of tourist routes including Malvinas, and the inclusion of radio programmes in English and Spanish specially prepared for the inhabitants of the Islands in the Radio Nacional Río Grande broadcast. He also succeeded in having 22 February designated as the Argentine Antarctica Day.
"Campos represents those men who work in the public administration and deal with issues in a rational and creative manner. This must help us understand what is still pending, such as the promotion of Tierra del Fuego as the area nearest to Antarctica, and the development of hotel infrastructure there," stated Faurie.
The Argentine Foreign Minister underscored the fact that during election times "you can go forward or backwards, and at this ceremony to commemorate former governor and congressman Ernesto Campos, we are also commemorating those who looked forward, bet on the future, and worked to solve problems knowing that hope and opportunities lay ahead." The Foreign Minister gave a commemorative tray to Campos' three daughters.
In turn, Mercedes Campos, one of Campos' daughters, recalled that, when they were young, their father, "in June 1958, at the young age of 43, was summoned by Frondizi, who offered him the position of Governor of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands when that territory had just been created. My father was born in Buenos Aires, but his job as a seaman made him fall in love with that land. Years later, while working at YPF, he was able to express his idea of bringing the Islands and the mainland closer by working along with the Argentine and the British Foreign Ministries."
Ernesto Manuel Campos
After effectively retiring from the Argentine Navy on 1 June, 1957, Campos took office as Governor of of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands on 7 June, 1958. He remained in office for three consecutive terms until 1963.
He worked tirelessly to improve the living conditions of the people of Tierra del Fuego by developing key infrastructure projects, such as those which enabled the supply of natural gas, the construction of new hospitals, and the exploitation of oil fields near Río Grande.
Between 1971 and 1972 he visited the Malvinas Islands several times, while supervising the construction of a YPF fuel storage plant, in the context of project "Antares".
He was convinced that, along with the sovereignty claim, we had to make efforts to strengthen bonds with the islanders.
After his death on 15 June, 1987, his remains rest at his beloved Tierra del Fuego, as he wished.
His devotion to Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia and the Malvinas Islands in an example of commitment to a cause embraced by all of the Argentine people.