The Falklands Islands located in the South Atlantic are in the news again as Argentina and Great Britain return to disputing the islands sovereignty. Argentina declined an invitation to a meeting in London with members from the Falkland Islands, because Argentinian officials insist that discussion should only consist of Argentina and the UK as dictated in a UN resolution from 1965. The British insist that the people of the Falkland Islands should be involved in negotiations with Argentina and support self-determination in a referendum to take place in March of this year.
Argentina’s claims to the Falkland Islands stem from gaining the territory when declaring independence from Spain in 1816, as well as when David Jewet claimed the islands in 1820 for the United Provinces of the River Plate. Great Britain’s presence on the Falkland Islands goes back to 1765 when part of the island was settled on and claimed. However, the British did not stay continuously on the islands until a permanent settlement was established in 1840, after becoming a naval base in 1834. The situation becomes more complicated as the Spanish’s claim to the islands come from acquisition from the French in 1867. Additionally, before independence the Spanish official in charge of the Islands was subordinate to the Governor of Buenos Aires colony.
Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner published a letter as an advertisement in The Gaurdian to British Prime Minister David Cameron stating that the British gained the islands through colonial force and to respect the UN resolution to resolve the issue through negotiation between the two countries. President Fernandez declared that regaining the islands is part of a Latin American cause to reject colonialism. The British counter that the people of the Falkland Islands should determine their own fate in a referendum this month. It is only logical that Argentina does not want the islanders to self-determine their fate, because a majority of the population is British.
(British news publication The Sun responded to President Fernandez with an advertisement of their own in the Buenos Aires Herald)