June 14th 2012.
The 30th anniversary of the end of the Falklands war in 1982. Also the first time that the Head of State of any country in the world demeaned herself to go and try, in desperation, to convince the sub-sub-Committee of the United Nations, known as the C24, that she had a claim to another territory.
And the basis for this claim? Another defeat at the hands of British forces, 150 years before the Falklands War. President Cristina Kirchner alleges that in 1833 the British ‘usurped’ her country and threw off the legal authorities that were representing Buenos Aires. She even took along to the C24 a long-lost son of the family that Argentina claims established their right of sovereignty. A Vernet!
That poor scion was dragged up to say that his family had had a house on the Falklands since 1823 and that they became, in 1829, the representatives of the Buenos Aires Government. ” .. great-great-grandmother Maria had been the wife of the first political and military commander of the Malvinas Islands and those adjacent to Cape Horn. Since 1823, her house had been part of Malvinas. At that time, ranches had been set up for livestock. Her brother and brother-in-law settled in Puerto de la Soledad in 1824. In 1828, a decree had given her family land as a way to encourage the development of new areas for national prosperity. In 1829, Maria was 29 with three children, the youngest of whom had taken her first steps in Malvinas.”
Now this is one of Argentina’s lies. They’ve been doing it to the C24 ever since Ruda’s speech in the 1960’s. What Marcello Luis Vernet did not mention, is that his family’s expedition to East Falkland in 1824 (not 1823) failed. The truth of that, the Vernet family’s initial attempt to establish a business on the islands under one Pablo Arequati, goes rather more like this:
February 2nd, Pablo Areguati, with 25 gauchos, arrives on East Falkland. February 12th, Areguati writes, “We are without meat, without ship’s biscuits, and without gunpowder for hunting. We support ourselves by chance captures of rabbits, since there is no fat meat since we cannot go out to slaughter as there are no horses. I have resolved to tell you that we are perishing.” April 8th, the Captain of the British ship Adeona, threatens to denounce Areguati’s party as ‘pirates.‘ June 7th, Areguati abandons the settlement and returns to Buenos Aires in the Fenwick. He leaves 8 gauchos behind, including the foreman Aniceto Oviedo. July 24th, the remaining gauchos are taken off East Falkland by the British sealer, Susannah Anne.
So – no house established in 1823.
In 1825, Britain and Buenos Aires signed a commercial Treaty which, while not recognising any right of Buenos Aires to any territory still claimed by Spain, at least set up the mechanism for trade. In Article 3, Britain gave permission for settlers from the mainland to try to forge business interests on the Falklands. So now the Vernet family had British permission.
And yet Marcello Vernet accused Britain of making the “gross historical error” !
Vernet then quoted from his ancestor’s Diary that at the time of Maria Vernet’s arrival in 1829 (not 1823), there were some 20 other settler families. Her diary described daily life in a small community composed of Germans, people from Patagonia, Scots, Frenchmen, Genoese, English, Irish, and Africans.
He did not explain how these representatives from so many countries quite provides Argentina with the right to claim the Falklands.
Vernet also talked about the ‘Malvinas Command’, being founded on August 30th 1829. He did not mention the British protest of that same year which clearly told Buenos Aires that the Falklands were British and that they should stay away.
In many ways, the most surprising thing about Argentina’s claims over 1833 is that they were actually surprised that the British turned out to be as good as their word. They still do not think the British can be as good as their word.
In 1832 Argentina did not believe that the British would throw them off. They were wrong.
In 1982 Argentina did not believe that the British would throw them off. They were wrong.
And yet here they are still, in 2012, screeching at a discredited and biased sub-sub-Committee of the United Nations that Britain should let them onto a set of islands that they never owned, nor ever established any claim to.
Is Argentina hard of hearing ?