As for Argentina’s refusal to include islanders in any negotiations with Britain over the islands’ future, he said that the islanders have no place in the negotiating table “because they are British.”
“The island’s population was implanted there by force in 1833,’’ when the British occupied the islands and expelled the Argentines, he said. “The islanders could have saved themselves from holding this referendum, because there’s no question that they are British,” he added.
My opinion: Argentina has a legitimate right over the islands, because — as Columbia University international law expert Julius Goebel wrote in his 1927 book The Struggle for the Falklands’’ — France transferred the islands’ sovereignty to the Spanish Crown in a 1767 agreement, and when Argentina formally declared its independence in 1816 it legally inherited all formerly Spanish possessions in its territory.
This means that when the British occupied the islands in 1833 and called them Falklands, they occupied Argentine territory and populated them with British settlers, according to Goeble’s study, and to 1983 sequel by Yale University international law professor Michael W. Reisman.
But Fernández’s overheated rhetoric, as well as her government’s moves against the islanders, are more designed to win applause at home than to help Argentina recover the islands.
If Argentina really wants to recover its legitimate rights over the islands, it should seduce its islanders, rather than harass them.
Sure, winning over the islanders through economic and cultural exchanges may take generations. But by escalating tensions, the Argentine government has brought about a referendum that will give Britain and the islanders diplomatic ammunition to oppose any change in the islands’ status.