DISPLAYING in evergreen political fashion a knack for pandering and hypocrisy, officials from the Argentine government are eulogizing a decision by a United Nations commission to extend its territorial waters as ‘game changing’.
The reason of course is that by officially, though certainly not practically, expanding its maritime realm in the South Atlantic by 35 per cent, its territory now includes the Falkland Islands.
The UN commission on the limits of the continental shelf have now issued their findings on a long standing case on the former Spanish colony’s territorial boundaries and extended them from 200 to 350 miles from the coast.
With the Falklands, or Malvinas as Argentines like to say, lying some 300 miles out from the Patagonian coast, the case raises hopes in Buenos Aires that its claim to both the archipelago, and the riches of the surrounding ocean, will be strengthened.
“This is a historic occasion for Argentina because we’ve made a huge leap in the demarcation of the exterior limit of our continental shelf,” foreign minister Susana Malcorra said. “This reaffirms our sovereignty rights over the resources of our continental shelf.”
The self-governing Falklands Islands government, which relies on Britain for defence and foreign affairs, has asked the Westminster government “what, if any, decisions have been made, and what implications there may be” in relation to the judgment.
There is a caveat in the ruling that recognises the existence of an ongoing unresolved diplomatic dispute concerning sovereignty over the islands between Argentina and the UK.
Despite losing a bitter war to British forces in 1982, the Falklands have consistently been something of a rallying call for Argentine politicians looking for a fat shot of popular outcry to assuage the symptoms of corruption and recession every now and then.
The South American nation is in the unfortunate position of trying to muster sympathy by portraying the situation internationally as part of the worldwide fight against colonialism, while itself being the product of perhaps the most barbaric episode of colonialism history has known.
The Islanders themselves have repeatedly and almost unanimously voted to remain within the UK’s remit, with more than 99 per cent voting in support of the status quo in 2013.