Argentina is ‘malvinazing’ (Malvinas) its history, but not through chauvinist patriotism but mature nationalism that seeks international law and peace to recover sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, said president Cristina Fernandez during the 33rd anniversary of the beginning of the South Atlantic conflict on 2 April 1982.
“Things are changing not only in our country, where we have began to ‘malvinize’ our history which does not mean a chauvinist patriotism but a mature nationality that seeks international right, dialogue and not the militarization in the path to sovereignty” affirmed Cristina Fernández in the main ceremony held in Ushuaia, next to cabinet members, Tierra del Fuego governor Fabiana Ríos, top military and security officials, lawmakers and hundreds of Malvinas veterans.
On April 1982 the Argentine military invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands, which led to a 74 days conflict with victory for a Task Force sent from Britain to recover the South Atlantic Islands. The conflict cost the lives of 649 Argentine (mostly teenager conscripts), 255 British and three Islanders, plus the arrest of tends of Islanders held in inhuman conditions by the invading forces in Darwin/Goose Green.
Defeat of the military also opened the way, 16 months later, for the recovery of democracy in Argentina following seven years of military dictatorship. Argentina now recalls 2 April as the “Day of the Malvinas Veteran”.
“When we went to the Islands it was not because of the decision of a democratic government. Don’t let them hold us responsibility because they shut up when the institutional order in Argentina was broken on March 24 (1976), I listened to no power protest when thousands of Argentines were tortured. Of the one thing we will hold accountability in that war is of the blood of our youngsters who went dying for their flag. We are a sovereign country that will pay tribute to its dead”, underlined the Argentine president.
Cristina Fernandez then blasted the increase of UK’s military presence in the South Atlantic, a move that was confirmed by UK’s Defense Secretary the same day Argentina marked a new anniversary of the beginning of “the bloodiest military dictatorship in the country’s history, the same regime that persecuted, tortured and disappeared 30,000 people here and sent young soldiers to fight for the disputed islands in 1982”.
“When the other day, paradoxically on March 24, they presented us, Argentines, with shocking news titles as ‘a live threat’ when the secretary of defense had to justify increasing the military budget by 180 million of pounds when there is more than a million English people who have to eat at food banks in one of the most powerful countries in the world. We are the perfect excuse, the alibi of a government,” continued the president accusing the British coalition government of Prime Minister David Cameron of using the Falkland/Malvinas Islands rhetoric as a campaign strategy to “win elections they don’t know how to win.”
“When you look up in the public opinion in the UK you find a considerable part of the population that does not tell us that we are right but consider essential to set dialogue with us, as the 2065 resolution of the United Nations says, and hundreds of resolutions of the UN Committee of Decolonization, of the CELAC, of the MERCOSUR and the OAS set, saying it is necessary to dialogue because the world can bear no more wars, there are enough deaths already.”
Cristina Fernandez lashed out, “don’t put any more pounds in defense, put them in food, jobs and the well being of the English people because we are no danger.”
“We are (no danger) not in military terms, because we are not pressured by any war lobby. We are a danger when other people see that with different policies we have been able to create a more egalitarian society.”
“We have a history, a policy of coexistence and dialogue; we will go on demanding dialogue in all international forums. There are 17 colonial enclaves… 10 of which are British. The hour of the people finally comes everywhere sooner than later.”
Rejecting again the position by London that Argentina represents a “live threat” to the Falklands/Malvinas Islands, Cristina Fernandez said “war only serves to those who make and sell guns, only to lobbies and the militaristic industry… that tell you to go to war and if there is no war they make one so that you keep on spending money in weapons.”
The President also recalled a message sent to her by the Argentine ambassador to the United Kingdom, Alicia Castro, with an article published in The Mirror by John Prescott referring to “the scandal of what happened to the ¬people of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean” who were expelled by the British and their islands rented to the US to set a military base there.
In the report, Mr. Prescott calls the inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands “British Islanders.” “He defines them correctly”, Cristina Fernandez affirmed highlighting ‘the population living in the disputed territories are British with the native Argentine population been expelled by the UK in 1833’.
“If they need some benefit for the campaign, they should find another excuse. Don’t use Argentina. We don’t win elections scaring people with invading anybody…”
“We will continue to demand dialogue against militarization; we don’t want to have the South Atlantic militarized no more. After all, I ask the think tanks that no one knows who finances them but that they are lobbies that along with media put the most lethal bombs, in television, in radio microphones, in newspapers. Why don’t they ask what good there is in militarizing the South Atlantic?”
“There is no bigger military organization than the NATO. I see no profit; if they cannot even live safe in their own territories. If every time you have to get to an airport you practically have to undress; European nations today see how extremists go putting bombs inside (their countries) and outside. How can they thing Argentineans pose a danger?”
In her 45-minute speech Cristina Fernandez put youth back in the center of her political message, paying a tribute to “the youngsters who have always been the cannon folder of all the adventures and all the horrors that countries have lived across all times.”
“True heroes,” said the president of the troops that were sent to fight to the Falklands/Malvinas Islands in 1982, in a move by the military dictatorship to divert public attention from the country’s severe economic crisis and reports of human rights abuses abroad.
“I don’t make a mistake or commit blasphemy when I use the word martyrs because in short they sent 18-year-olds without any sort of preparation to an inhospitable and awful territory without the minimum of food, shelter. Many of those resting in Darwin (cemetery) and those who sunk in the Belgrano (navy ship) are martyrs of the territorial independence and there is still a part missing. Because there will be no full July 9 (Argentine Independence Day) until we can recover our Malvinas Islands.”