Isabel Hardman Isabel Hardman

Cristina Kirchner forgets the most important people in the Falklands row: the Islanders

The British government has been gently rattling the bars in its stand-off with Argentina over the Falklands of late: giving the Queen a stretch of land in Antarctica which Cristina Kirchner’s government disputes the ownership of is one example. But today, ahead of a referendum in March for Islanders to decide whether they want the Falklands to remain under British sovereignty, Kirchner has upped the tension.

In a letter published as an advert in today’s papers, the Argentine President demands that the UK ‘abide by the resolutions of the United Nations’ to end colonialism and negotiate a solution to the sovereignty dispute over the Islands.

There’s a question about why Kirchner feels the need to buy this advertising space now, and the answer is that she is struggling a great deal with domestic policy in Argentina. Taking a stand on the Falklands is an easy way to distract voters for a little while. It’s also worth reading Graham Brady’s piece from May on Argentina’s credibility.

Kirchner makes much of the ‘colonial history’ of the Falklands in her letter, which you can read in full below. She also insists that ‘the Question of the Malvinas Islands is also a cause embraced by Latin America and by a vast majority of peoples and governments around the world that reject colonialism’.

But what she fails to mention is that this Question isn’t embraced by arguably the most important group of people in this whole row: the Falkland Islanders themselves. It’s worth noting at this point, too, that it is the Falkland Islands government that runs the show in this British Overseas Territory, not Westminster.

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