The Route to Independence program which allegedly was started by the Foreign Office in 1983, following the South Atlantic conflict has a final and definitive objective: the independence of the Falkland Islands argues Argentine *Senator Rodolfo Terragno.
During a visit to Cordoba to promote his book "Republic of the Falkland Islands", Terragno said that in the last quarter of a century Britain has ensured the Falklands with a self sustainable economy, political institutions and British nationality, all of which will naturally lead to the declaration of independence.
This is an option with United Nations recognition which is quite spread in the world with the so called mini-states experience, he warns his domestic audiences.
"Until 1982 London was wiling to find a negotiated solution over Falklands/Malvinas, but Argentina not only occupied the Islands, but went on to fight a war to defend its position. Since then it has been very difficult to negotiate with the UK and next year, 25 years will have elapsed", said Terragno.
Islanders are full British citizens based on the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, which was expanded with the British Overseas Territories Act 2002, but according to Terragno this means they do not have the right to self determination since they are "an implanted population", which has been the Argentine argument all along and should be presented as evidence before the United Nations Decolonization Committee.
UK nationality legislation reinforces the fact that it's a bilateral dispute and the Islanders are not a third party but "part of the problem".
Terragno adds that the Falklands have been institutionally organized with three branches including an elected Legislative.
"Furthermore the Islands constitution is double the Argentine constitution which gives a clear idea of how specifically it has been drafted. Foreign relations and defense, as happens with mini-states that are members of the United Nations are trusted to their former metropolis", insists Terragano.
Argentina must present before the United Nations the (UK) legal background showing Islanders are an implanted people because "they are not a distinctive identity or a different people with the right to self determination since they are British, as British as any cockney Londoner".
Terragno says that the Foreign Office's next step is not discuss about sovereignty with Argentina but simply declare the independence of the "Republic of the Falkland Islands", which would make things very complicated for Buenos Aires.
"Many former colonies in the UN would side with the Falklands" he warns since independence is a magic word.
"People in the audience might think it's a fantasy: how can such a small territory with a minimum population become independent? Well it can as has happened with the republics of Naru or Palau, UN members in the Pacific which don't have near the Falklands' per capita income, which is the highest of the Americas next to the US".
Terragno also reveals that the Foreign Office a quarter of a century ago decided that to make the Islands self sufficient, land which until then was concentrated in the Falkland Islands Company has to be distributed, the squid fisheries developed but was not so enthusiastic about oil, rather the contrary.
And what should Argentina's strategy be in this scenario?
"I've talked extensively about the issue with Foreign Affairs minister Jorge Taiana when traveling to the United Nations and we agree that the current solidarity with Argentina could change radically if the Islands are granted independence by the UK".
Therefore "we must have an open mind. We must include the fact Islanders are British citizens according to British law and be open to any transition period proposal. If in 1982 we had accepted the idea of a transition period, including sovereignty at the end of 25 years, the situation could have been radically different. I accept that at the time we would have been considered traitors".
"We must not act with a dogmatic or extremist mind", emphasizes Terragno.
* Rodolfo Terragno (Born November 16, 1943 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) is an Argentine Senator, lawyer and former journalist. He is also a researcher for the Institute of Latin American Studies and for the London School of Economics.
Terragno was Chief of Staff for President Fernando de la Rúa between 1999 and 2000 and is currently serving as Senator for Buenos Aires city until 2007. He is a former national Congressman (1993-95 and 1997-99) and former head of the Radical Civic Union (1995-97), but now sits as an independent Radical.
During his years as a journalist he was head editor in the magazine Confirmado between 1967 and 1968, a columnist in the La Opinión newspaper, and an editor in Cuestionario magazine.
Terragno received the Ordre National du Mérite from the French Republic in 1987