Conflict in the Falklands

By, Cecilia de Almeida CAs ’19

 

Over the last month or so, tensions between Argentina and Brazil have been high ever since the British Royal Air Force (RAF) was allowed to make flights between the Falklands and Brazilian airports. The Argentine ministry requested an explanation be given by the government of Brazil, reminding the former of the “commitment to not allow British airplanes or warships based in the disputed archipelago”[1] to land in Brazilian soil in accordance with agreements among member nations of the regional blocs Mercosur. The United Kingdom and Argentina have a constant struggle over the sovereignty of the Falklands, or the Malvinas as the Argentine people have named them. The dispute stems from the Falkland’s War of 1982, which was triggered “when Argentina troops invaded the South Atlantic island group”[2] and claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 British soldiers.  However, even before the conflict Argentina always claimed the island of Malvinas, while the United Kingdom says the “Falklands are a self-governing entity under its protection”[3] and Argentine ownership would go against the wishes of the island’s inhabitants, which chose to identify themselves as part of Britain.

During the period leading up to the war, Argentina was undergoing a period of economic stagnation. The Argentinian military dictatorship at the time “pulled the move in an attempt to restore public support during an economic crisis”[4]. This political strategy only led to more public resistance and anger towards the governing body at the time. Ever since Argentina’s current president Mauricio Macri began his mandate, tensions have eased over the Falkland Islands. Recently the two countries have agreed that “they would remove restrictions in the oil, fishing and shipping industries affecting the Falkland”[5]. The supposed inability of the Brazilian government to implement this sanction and the British disregard for this rule could compromise the recent amity between Argentina and Britain.

The Brazilian government announced that it will open an investigation regarding the RAF landings in Brazilian airports however, “The Brazilian foreign minister, Itamaraty, did not make any official statement on the matter of accepting or rejecting Argentina’s claims regarding military flights to the Falkland calling in Brazil.”[6]. The Foreign Ministry in Brazil is living through some turbulent times. In the end of the month of February the then residing Secretary General, Jose Serra, resigned and returned to his Senate bench due to medical reasons. President Michel Temer only announced a week ago that Senator Aloysio Nunes (from the same political party as the President) would be Serra’s successor. The political instability and economic crisis that is currently happening in Brazil only adds to Argentine worry about the lack of reinforcement of this treaty.

It is impossible to claim if the Falkland’s conflict will ever be resolved, but what should be the focus of the international community is crisis prevention. Geopolitics is riddled with international conflicts that remain unresolved for long periods of time. What should be the top priority is preventing tensions from rising in these regions to avoid the well-being and security of those that could be affected.

 

[1] Press, Associated. “British RAF Flights from Brazil to the Falklands Anger Argentina.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 02 Mar. 2017. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

[2] Press, Associated. “British RAF Flights from Brazil to the Falklands Anger Argentina.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 02 Mar. 2017. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

[3] Associated Press. “Argentina Demands Answers from Brazil over Falklands Flights.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 01 Mar. 2017. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

[4] Plus 55. “BRAZIL AND ARGENTINA AT ODDS OVER FALKLAND FLIGHTS.” Plus55. Plus 55, 02 Mar. 2017. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

[5] Associated Press. “Argentina Demands Answers from Brazil over Falklands Flights.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, 01 Mar. 2017. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

[6] Mercopress. “Brazil Investigating If RAF Flights to the Falklands Landed in the Country.” MercoPress. MercoPress, 01 Mar. 2017. Web. 19 Mar. 2017.

Photo credit: Newsweek