Falklands Dispute Resurfaces 30 Years after the War Ends
Britain's economic predicament has aroused nostalgia in some quarters for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher the iron lady capable of making difficult decisions. The British may have another reason for looking back at the Thatcher record: The Falklands dispute is heating up again. When the Argentine junta seized the islands in 1982, Margaret Thatcher recaptured them in the Falklands War even though it required sending a British task force half around the globe.
The Argentine Navy has now boarded ships that "violated" Argentine's blockade of the sea lanes to and from the Falklands. The latest measure has effected forty fishing vessels and 600 crewmen.
Argentina is using these tactics to pressure Britain to negotiate over Falklands what the Argentine school Malvinas. Argentina is contemplating provoking the British at the London Olympics by having its athletes wear uniforms emblazoned with the legend "the Falkland islands are Argentine"
The recent stationing of Crown Prince William an evacuation helicopter pilot in the Falklands was termed by Argentina aggression and provocation. When Prime Minister David Cameron reiterated the familiar British position that the will of the islanders would be decisive and as long as they wanted to remain British the islands would remain British, he was petulantly attacked by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner. Kirchner called David Cameron arrogant and termed his comments "an expression of mediocrity and almost of stupidity." At the last UN General assembly Kirchner compared the Falklands to the plight of the Palestinians.
Why has this dormant problem suddenly come back to the headlines? A few reasons suggest themselves.
Britain is part of a conservation commission seeking to preserve the unique eco-system in the region and has announced a marine protection area where restrictions will apply such as on the killing of whales and other wildlife. But who will police this broader area Britain or Argentina?
Another factor is that an oil company has recently located a commercial well in the Falklands Sea Lion Basin raising the possibility that the area may contain valuable mineral resources.
Finally one should point to the growing assertiveness of the Latin American states who are experiencing an economic boom while the United States and Western Europe are stagnating. A new organization of Latin American and Caribbean states called CLEC comprising 33 members has arisen and convened in Caracas Venezuela. Pointedly the organization excludes the United States and Canada although it does include English-speaking Caribbean states. The organization backed Argentina's claim to sovereignty over the Falklands last Saturday at the end of its first summit.
Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez is the driving force in the organization together with Cuba. Venezuela is friends with Hezbollah and Iran and lately there have been reports of growing ties between Buenos Aires and Teheran.