Why is Malvinas a latin american cause?

By Daniel Filmus (article published on Nodal https://www.nodal.am/2020/04/por-que-malvinas-es-una-causa-latinoamericana-por-daniel-filmus/ on April 9, 2020)

After its independence from Spain, Argentina fully exercised its sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands. On January 3, 1833 the United Kingdom, in full colonial expansion, violently expelled the authorities of the Argentine Government and its inhabitants and established a new population of British origin.

Since then and for 187 years, the Argentine governments have been constantly claiming to recover full exercise of its sovereignty over the Islands. Latin American countries soon expressed their solidarity with Argentina and asserted that it was a case of colonial aggression that attacked the sovereignty of the entire region. Bolivia was perhaps the country that expressed it most immediately and vigorously. Shortly after the usurpation took place, its government issued a statement addressed to the Argentine Republic in which it stated that: “... The British cabinet's conduct in the Malvinas, although essentially harmful to the government that feels deprived of its possession, is offensive and too insulting to all the American republics and, in the opinion of the Bolivian government, it is utterly a continental issue”.

Regional multilateral organizations were also among the first to recognise the Argentine claim. During the Ninth International Conference of American States, held in Bogotá in 1948, President Perón's Foreign Minister, Atilio Bramuglia, called on American countries for solidarity over the colonial situation in the Malvinas Islands. Responding to this claim, the American Committee on Dependent Territories that met in La Habana the following year, stated in its final report on the Malvinas Islands: “… it renews the just aspirations of its people and its government, affirming that colonialism must disappear from America and the illegitimate occupations of American territories by extra-territorial countries must end”.

Following this declaration, several regional resolutions supported the position of the Argentine Republic and stated that the principle of territorial integrity should have priority for the regions that held disputes over sovereignty . The firm position of Latin American governments was determining during the 1965 debate of the Malvinas Question in the United Nations and the approval of Resolution 2065 (XX). This Resolution, that was achieved under the initiative of Arturo Illia's government, constitutes a fundamental milestone for the Argentine claim. It is the framework in which the international community defined that a bilateral negotiation is necessary in order to reach a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute, always taking into account the provisions and purposes of the UN Charter and of Resolution 1514 (XV), as well as the interests of the Islands' residents.

Apart from the annual declarations of the OAS Assembly in support of the content of Resolution 2065, recently there were several statements by organizations that represent regional institutionality. Indeed, Mercosur, Unasur, Celac, Olade, Aladi, the Rio Group, the Ibero-American Summit, the Africa-South America Summit (ASA), the Summit of South American-Arab Countries (ASPA), the South Atlantic Peace Zone (ZPCAS), the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino), the Mercosur Parliament (Parlasur), among others, are some of the multilateral and regional organizations that spoke out on the Malvinas Question with strong support for Argentina's sovereign claim.

The United Kingdom has not complied with UN resolutions and has ignored all calls made by multilateral organizations. Despite basing its position on respect for the “self-determination” of the people, the economic and geopolitical interests that underlie its effort to perpetuate the colonial situation are increasingly evident. The United Kingdom tries to force the interpretation of the principle of self-determination for the Malvinas issue when the United Nations does not consider it applicable, but denies it against the rights of other people, such as the cases of the indigenous people of French Polynesia and Mauritius. Its refusal to comply with the UN General Assembly Resolution, which gave it 180 days to return the Chagos Archipelago to Mauritius, shows the double standard with which he defines his policies when it comes to maintaining at any price its dominance over the colonial territories, ignoring the mandate of the United Nations. In the case of Malvinas, the real reasons seem obvious: the military dominance of the situation in the South Atlantic, the exploitation of the natural resources existing in the region, the need to secure a bridgehead for the logistical support of their claims in Antarctica and control over the strategic bi-oceanic passage. These and not others are the economic, military and political interests that sustain the presence of the United Kingdom in the South Atlantic. And that is why Latin American countries, in addition to being in solidarity with the Argentine position, also began to see that these colonial claims affect the interests of the nations of Latin America.

On the one hand, the military presence contradicts General Assembly Resolution 41/11 (Zone of Peace and Cooperation of the South Atlantic) which, among other provisions, calls upon “all States of all other regions, in particular the militarily significant States, to scrupulously respect the South Atlantic region as a zone of peace and cooperation, especially through the reduction and eventual elimination of their military presence in that region, the non-introduction of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction…”

The Monte Agradable armed base, totally disproportionate to the capacity of the Argentine forces, deploys its joint action with the group of British bases in the area (Ascención, Tristán da Cunha, Santa Helena), which allow it to control the South Atlantic area off the coast of Latin America. Just as an example, we can recall that the former President of Brazil Dilma Rousseff, at the opening of the 68th UN General Assembly in 2015, made an accusation of espionage carried out from the Island of Ascención. It seems evident that the military control exercised by the United Kingdom from its presence on the Islands has objectives that go way beyond the alleged “defensive condition” against Argentina, and involve a tight military control of the South Atlantic and the bioceanic confluence that affects the entire region. Furthermore, it is clear that Argentina cannot pose a latent threat: today its commitment to democracy, respect for international law and the peaceful resolution of disputes are unquestionable.

On the other hand, the exploration and exploitation of natural resources in a vast area of ​​the Southwest Atlantic - extremely rich in natural resources such as hydrocarbons, fisheries, minerals and biodiversity - openly violates UN Resolution 31/49 and have been condemned by numerous declarations of regional organizations and even deserved a particular censure paragraph of the G-77 plus China. In a context where the valuation of primary goods, the growth of food demand and the depletion of reserves in the northern hemisphere are increasingly prevalent phenomena, the subsistence of a traditional colonialism that is based on the exploitation and export of Natural resources by the central powers in annexed territories, is a concern to all Latin American economies.

Another aspect for which the United Kingdom affirms its colonial presence in the Malvinas Islands is its proximity to Antarctica. Taking into account the strong British presence on the sixth continent and its claim to sovereignty - which includes the entire Argentine Antarctic sector and part of the Chilean sector - its position in the Islands constitutes a strategic situation. The British Antarctic Survey has an operational center in Puerto Argentino from where it plans and carries out the logistics support and supply of the bases located in Antarctica and the South Georgia Islands. It seems evident that the United Kingdom's vision also considers the vital importance of the white continent for the future of humanity, regarding its natural wealth, water reserves and biodiversity, as well as scientific research.

The renewed signs of support from the various Latin American forums show that the controversy has become a cause of all the countries in the region. Not only because the territorial usurpation hurts Argentina and the entire Southern Cone, but also because the consequences of this colonial permanence constitute an attack on the sovereignty, integration and development of the entire continent.

This continental cohesion is not only vital from the point of view of its solidarity contribution, but it is essential to build the conditions in order to resume the dialogue that will allow us to recover the exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas. In this sense, the success of the claim for the full validity of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands requires that Latin America continue to make it its own and that the global consensus regarding the need to end colonialism in the 21st century open the way for through peace and negotiation we achieve the definitive solution to the dispute.

Daniel Filmus: Secretary of Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic - Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship. Former Ministry of Education. Researcher at the Argentine National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET). Professor at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA).