May 22, 2013
Malvinas: Islanders ready to vote despite Argentine rejection
Just days before the referendum is due to be held on the Malvinas Islands regarding their sovereignty, Argentine Ambassador to London Alicia Castro dismissed the referendum as a “media tactic.”
“The referendum is irrelevant from the point of view of international law,” said the diplomat in an interview with an Argentine radio station.
According to Castro, the procedure was “a diversionary and media tactic designed to spread confusion on the United Kingdom’s true obligation to sit down to dialogue with Argentina.”
The ambassador insisted that the referendum was “little more than a manoeuvre to avoid the obligation imposed by the United Nations that the two nations sit down” and try “to permanently resolve the sovereignty conflict through diplomatic negotiations.”
Castro said that the vote “also creates the image that Argentina has been persecuting or harassing the islands, which could not be further from the truth,” adding that “there are a quarter of a million people living in Argentina who are the descendents of British people, who follow their customs and their way of life.”
“The people of the Malvinas Islands have civil and political rights, which Argentina respects,” said Castro but she insisted that “there is a right that the inhabitants do not have, which is to decide on the sovereignty dispute.”
“The inhabitants of the islands are British but the land that they inhabit is not, so this referendum is not going to change anything,” concluded the ambassador.
PENGUIN NEWS PREPARES ISLANDS FOR VOTE
The latest edition of islands weekly Penguin News, published on March 1, is full of essential information and preparation for the referendum, to be held on March 10 and 11.
The front page leads with an article on the expected influx of media interest, headlined “Falklands prepares for press invasion,” and also informs that a total of 1,672 individuals will be eligible to vote.
The weekly newspaper presents the options offered by the referendum in comprehensive terms, beginning with the question to be asked: “Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?”
Under the “Yes” column, the text states that the islands can review their status at any point in the future. In terms of the “No” column, the article makes it clear that “a substantial no vote would encourage the Argentine government’s sovereignty claim,” adding that “a large no vote would weaken our chances of attaining more independence some day.”
As well as practical information, including where mobile polling booths will be and when during the process, the editorial by Deputy Editor John Fowler provides further commentary on the expected arrivals, stating: “We are used to this.”
Fowler continues by stating that “I sometimes feel that the most difficult thing to get across is that we are ordinary people with ordinary concerns who would just like to be able to get on with our lives in peace.”
“I expect that most people in the Falklands are more concerned about their health, the weather, the outrageous price of vegetables and a host of other things than they are about the outbursts of Argentina’s unpredictable President and her lackeys,” states the editorial.
Fowler’s text concludes with a call to readers to vote: “The whole Falklands political situation sometimes seems to lack perspective, particularly the human perspective. You (the Malvinas residents) can help supply it.”
LONDON EMBASSY PROTEST
Representatives and supporters of the British Veterans Group (BVG) conducted a protest opposite the Argentine Embassy in London yesterday. The BVG protesters were protesting against Argentina's continuing claims of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, holding placards stating ‘HANDS OFF OUR FALKLAND ISLANDS.’
BVG Veterans Officer Pete Molloy, speaking exclusively to the Buenos Aires Herald, said that “the protest went really well, and it was important for us as British military veterans to let the Argentine Government know that 255 British servicemen did not die for nothing, and our people that have been living on the Falkland Islands for generations are British and they want to remain so.”
Herald with DyN, Penguin News