It’s C24 time again

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 ?

http://falklandstimeline.wordpress.com/

http://falklandstimeline.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/falklands-history8.pdf

http://www.falklandshistory.org/gettingitright.pdf

http://falklandshistory.org/sites/default/files/false-falklands-history.pdf

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Was That It ??

I’m feeling disappointed.

I was expecting so much more this year. After all, President Cristina of Argentina has been raising the rhetoric for months now. Sending ambassadors and minister to all parts of the globe to negotiate, well anything really, provided that Argentina could slap a paragraph on the bottom thanking whichever country they were in for the support given over the Falkland Islands.

Usually meaningless of course, and often the Minister concerned would thank their hosts for their support on the issue pretty well regardless of whether or not the other country had even mentioned it.

Now I know that it is an election year and much of all the talk was for consumption in Argentina. After all it is well recognised that the Falklands Question is the only one that actually unites the people of Argentina. Which only goes to show that you can, in fact, fool all of the people, all of the time – provided you repeat yourself often enough.

So here we are. Another year gone and the Fourth Committee all but done in their debate on the decolonisation process and where is it? You would have thought that all the shouting, all the handshaking, all the thankyou’s, all the support from more than 130 of the United Nations’ members would have achieved it. After 23 years. So I ask again, where is it?

According to many Argentine commentators, their country has the support of the majority of the Nations in the world. They say that the United Kingdom is isolated and should obey the world’s call for negotiations over the Islands. They say.

And yet there has been no United Nations General Assembly Resolution calling for talks since 1988.

Nothing has happened! Another year gone and no change whatsoever. The British Representative said what he or she said last year, and the year before. The Argentine Representative actually seemed more wet than in previous years. The best he could come up with was that the UK was falsely raising the Islanders’ hopes. He didn’t say which hopes.

What was important however, was that the UN’s Fourth Committee again reinforced the right of ALL peoples to determine their own futures. And added that they could use their own resources to do so. That is exactly what the Falkland Islanders are doing.

Maybe next year, Argentina??

Argentine Belligerence

Nile Gardiner is a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst, political commentator and occasional writer on the Falkland Islands for the British Telegraph newspaper.

Yesterday, in his commentary on the latest twists and turns at the United Nations, which has seen the Falklands issue appear both in the annual speech by Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and at the weekend meeting of the G77 + China group, Mr. Gardiner issued the following warning.

“There can be no room for complacency in London as Kirchner seeks re-election in October. Britain should be prepared for a further escalation in tensions over the Islands if her nationalist and populist administration is returned to office in an emboldened position, and must take all necessary steps to reinforce the Falkland’s defences.”

As a former aide to Margaret Thatcher, Nile Gardiner has a particular insight into the type of belligerent politics used by Argentina on the subject of the Falkland Islands, and the means best able to counter those.

Strong action appears to be his recommendation.

There is no doubt that the Islands are possibly the one subject able to unite Argentines, and as a result, the rhetoric increases at every election and in other times of trouble.

Argentina is not immune to the world’s financial ills and finds herself unable to access the major financial institutions due to the default of 2002. Unwilling to accept any advice from the IMF, who look with suspicion on Argentina’s official statistics, and unable to reach a settlement with the Paris Club, the South American State’s financial health is open to question. Every time this has happened before the Government in Buenos Aires has raised the Falklands as a smoke screen.

The United Kingdom has stated its position clearly. There will be no negotiation unless the Islanders’ wish it. With Presidential elections due next month, this subject will gain more prominence and the British Government should remain resolute. Kirchner’s re-election is virtually assured and she will be confident of gaining ground.

She should be denied it!

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100106691/britains-message-to-argentina-over-the-falklands-back-off/

G77 + China – Who ?

According to yesterday’s Buenos Aires Herald, the G77 + China has made a statement insisting that Britain returns to the negotiating table and discusses the Falkland Islands with Argentina.

How many times does Britain have to say ‘No’ before the message finally gets through?

The Group of 77 + China, which makes 78 according to my maths, apparently now has 132 members. Made up of supposedly ‘developing’ countries, the list of members includes such notable advocates of freedom and democracy as China, Afghanistan, Cuba, North Korea and Zimbabwe. Indeed, a large proportion of them fall under the general heading of ‘flawed democracies’, if not downright dictatorships.

And they presume to try to tell Britain that it should ignore the United Nation’s founding Charter and ride roughshod over the wishes and the interests of a Non-self Governing Territory, that the same UN has committed the United Kingdom to take care of under Article 73.

Shouting about a ‘colony’ in an attempt to fudge the issue of the Islanders’ right to determine their own future, we have a bunch of lame banana Republics attempting to apply pressure on the one country that sustains a fair few of them. The same country that allowed those ex-colonies of the British Empire to fully exercise their own rights to an independent future. Good enough for them but not for the Falkland Islanders’ apparently. Why? Maybe because the Falkland Islanders are not the correct colour to have any rights. Not dark enough to be seen as a colonial peoples.

But that’s what they are.

Britain should defiantly wave two fingers at the ridiculous G131+ China, and look to immediately stop any development money that it still forks out to this ungrateful  bunch.

After all, the money saved could be better employed on a few more missiles in the South Atlantic.

We’ll get out of the Falklands when China gets out of Tibet !

http://falklandsnews.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/jorge-arguello-claims-new-support-over-the-falklands/

Cristina Fernandez – Head Down at the UN

A few hours ago we had the usual rant to the United Nations General Assembly, from Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner who repeated her annual demand for the UK to sit down and talk about the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands.

Once again referring to the distance between Britain and its Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic, the President said, ” It is obvious the UK cannot claim sovereignty over a territory that’s 14,000 kilometres away from their land. We are not asking the UK to sit to accept right away sovereignty talks, we are asking the UK to comply with the UN General Assembly resolutions, and not necessarily with the 29 resolutions from the Decolonization Committee, or the so many others statements from the OAS, Mercosur, Unasur, and other Latam-African and Asian forums.”

Nothing new then; although she included a threat to the current regular flight between Chile and Mount Pleasant Airport that uses Argentine airspace, added the old moan about the oil exploration programme and tried to raise the status of the discredited Decolonisation Committee by referring to its annual decision-making as ‘Resolutions’.

Typically she remains unenlightened as to international law, which is hardly a good thing for a country’s chief lawmaker.

Geography is irrelevant. 14,000 or a million, it makes no difference. International law dismissed geography as a reason in sovereignty cases way back in 1928, but apparently Argentina didn’t like that decision so adopts the ostrich position.

A similar ‘head-down’ stance can be seen in her failure to recognise, again, that as a ‘colony’ listed by the UN as a ‘Non-Self Governing Territory’, the Islanders’ have the right, in international law, to determine their own future.

As for the Decolonisation Committee! A biased sub-Committee of the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly. Whatever it produces, it ain’t Resolutions.

So, nothing much different from the previous three speeches to the UN’s General Assembly. Just the threat to the air service agreement. Cristina must have read recently about how important that flight is to breakfast for the Falklanders, most of whom must be egg-bound looking at the figures.

But then Argentina has a reputation for breaking formal agreements; Treaties or otherwise. In July 1832, Francis Baylies, the United States Chargé d’affaires in Buenos Aires wrote to his State Department opposing a Treaty between the two countries, “…  for we would abide by it, and they would consider the violation of a treaty no greater offense than a lie told by a schoolboy …. “

No problem; they’ll blame the British, they always do! And that about sums up Argentina.

Till next year then!

 

http://falklandsnews.wordpress.com/2011/09/22/cristina-fernandez-at-the-un/

http://falklandstimeline.wordpress.com/1823-1833/

http://en.mercopress.com/2011/09/21/argentine-president-at-un-threatens-to-suspend-falklands-air-link-with-chile#comment65076

Oil Investment – Pros and Cons

News today from TELAM, the official Argentine news agency, that President Cristina Fernandez is on her way to New York next week for her annual speech to the United Nations. Unsurprisingly the news agency added that one of the main thrusts of her speech would be Argentina’s everlasting whine about the Falklands and the fact that Britain won’t sit down to negotiate.

Same speech as last year then, and the one before. Saves the speechwriters from thinking too much I suppose, although there may be more emphasis on oil this time.

Rockhopper’s news about its plans to take the find to a production phase will have hurt. It’s the one thing that Argentina’s politicians prayed would not happen. Why? Because an oil-producing Falklands makes the Overseas Territory totally self sufficient, and with their promise to contribute towards the Islands’ defence removes one source of antagonism with the British public. The only source of complaint, in these days of cost cutting.

So next week, the ‘Falklands Question’ will become the ‘Oil Question’.

There are a lot of opinions being expressed in the press about the viability of an oil production plan and whether or not Rockhopper Exploration can raise the necessary funding, which brings me back to yesterdays news.

The Foreign Office is to reassure the City that this Government is committed to the Islands’ defence. As I said, yesterday’s news. But there is one other ‘Question’ in the midst of all the speculation.

Who asked for the Foreign Office to provide some reassurance?

The obvious answer would be Rockhopper who desperately need the reinforcement in order to negotiate with the money men. But I’m not so sure. The Foreign Office have a history of viewing the Falklands as a nuisance; an irritation to better relations with South America and Brazil in particular. It is very well-known that the present British Government wish to dramatically improve their relationship with South America’s big performer. Even in the face of Brazil’s support for Argentina.

So Rockhopper are merely a part of the problem as far as the Foreign Office are concerned, and unlikely to get any swift support.

Maybe it wasn’t Rockhopper then. So who?

Could it be that some, even many, of the big investment houses in the City of London are seriously considering putting their money in? Seriously looking at the pros and cons? Weighing the risks?

Now they could generate a swift response from the notoriously lumbering Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Don’t you think?

http://falklandsnews.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/fortress-falklands-protecting-the-oil/

http://en.mercopress.com/2011/09/19/foreign-office-to-meet-rockhopper-investors-over-falklands-oil-plans#comment64744

 

Self Determination

In March 1968 the Falkland Islanders’ formed an Emergency Committee to oppose plans by the then British Government to discuss a handover of the Falklands to Argentina.

This change in the Government’s attitude had come about over a period of some years and reflected the pressure being exerted by Argentina in the United Nations.

In 1965 Argentina had perhaps achieved their biggest success in that political arena with General Assembly Resolution 2065 which noted the existence of a dispute and called for negotiations.

The Resolution invited, “the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to proceed without delay with the negotiations recommended by the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples with a view to finding a peaceful solution to the problem, bearing in mind the provisions and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations and of General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) and the interests of the population of the Falkland Islands”.

A success as the Resolution recognised that a dispute existed and there is little doubt that this marked a high point in Argentina’s diplomacy at the UN on the issue of the Islands; but the Resolution’s call was qualified. It required both observance of the UN’s founding Charter and the “interests of the population of the Falkland Islands.”

Article 1 of the UN Charter raises the status of self-determination to an inviolable international principle of law; a Right. The Charter is, after all, a multi-lateral Treaty binding the Members.

Article 73 deals with non-self governing territories and highlights recognition of the paramountcy of the interests and well-being of the inhabitants of those territories.

So in 1966 the British Government felt itself under pressure to comply with 2065 and to that end had two low-key meetings with Argentine officials. These, in turn, led to a formal indication in March 1967,  that the British Government would be prepared to cede sovereignty over the Islands under certain conditions, with the express provision that the wishes of the Islanders had to be respected. A Memorandum of Understanding was prepared to that effect.

It was information about this Memorandum, revealed to the Falklands people in February of 1968, that led to the Islanders’  Emergency Committee.

What followed was a wonderful example of self-determination in action.

The Islanders’ mounted an effective campaign both in Parliament and the press which completely scuppered the Memorandum and forced the British Government to recognise that the principle contained in Article 1 had to be recognised and that ‘interests’ and ‘well being’ coud not possibly be separated from the Islanders’ wishes. The rest is, as they say, history.

Arguments about the extent of Article 1 and its application to the Falkland Islands continue to this day with Argentina continuing to deny that the Falkland Islanders are a ‘people’ or that they have any Right of self-determination.

Which is a strange.

After all, the Falkland Islanders have been exercising their Right to self-determination since 1968.

And exercising that Right in the face of invasion, harassment, obstruction and threats.

There is no argument over self-determination. The argument was won a long time ago.

http://falklandstimeline.wordpress.com/1967-1981/