Friday, December 23rd 2011 - 14:42 UTC

Shout it loud enough and even the good guys believe it

By John Fowler for Penguin News, Stanley, Falkland Islands - My first contact with Latin America came in 1971, when my wife and I spent four days in Montevideo while waiting for a ship to carry us to the Falkland Islands. We received such amazing hospitality and kindness from the Uruguayans we met then, that this small, but perfectly-formed country has had a place in my heart ever since.

President Jose “Pepe” Mujica, “our wise man” according to Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff

More recently, I had also developed something of a soft spot for Uruguay's President, Mr José Mujica, since I learning that the official transport of this former guerrilla fighter who spent many years as a political prisoner, is an Opel Corsa and that his only personal asset is an aging Volkswagen Beetle.

 The antithesis of the popular image of a Latin American president and described sometimes as an anti-politician who speaks the language of the people, President Mujica apparently gives some 87% of his official salary to charity and lives off the meagre profits of a small-holding and road-side flower and vegetable stall owned by his wife Lucia Topolansky.

In the light of this admiration, President Mujica's decision this week to ban Falkland-flagged vessels from Uruguay's ports came at first as a source of great disappointment. On reflection, however, while still hoping that he will either reverse or not enforce a decision which could cost Uruguay's economy dearly, I have come to realise that it was consistent with my image of him as an unusually simple, straight-forward and sincere man. For years, it seems, we in the Falkland Islands have come to expect that Latin American leaders will publicly side with Argentina over the sovereignty issue to the extent of signing declarations of support, but have counted on them being duplicitous enough not to do anything about it.

My problem then is not with President Mujica acting according to his beliefs, but with what he has chosen to believe, namely that the Falklands/Malvinas sovereignty issue is a colonial one, rather than one about the rights of a small emergent nation to the self-determination promised by the Charter of the United Nations.

This is proof, I suppose, if proof were needed, that if like the President of Argentina you repeat something long enough and loud enough it tends to be believed, however wrong it may be.


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1 Islas Malvinas (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 03:07 pm Report abuse
“The rights of a small emergent nation to the self-determination promised by the Charter of the United Nations”.

The UN doesn´t promise you anything, you tricky lier. On the contraty it clearly states the Malvinas question is a particular COLONIAL situation that need to be RESOLVED by negotiations between the UK and Argentina.

The Uk won´t be able to deny the dispute for much longer.

Good job Argentina! Good job Latiamerica!

Pirats go home.
2 Domingo (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 04:03 pm Report abuse
“The UN doesn´t promise you anything, you tricky lier. On the contraty it clearly states the Malvinas question is a particular COLONIAL situation that need to be RESOLVED by negotiations between the UK and Argentina.”

I.M., you are right, the UN promises nothing, it guarantees self-determination to the Falkland Islanders by UN Charter Article 73 to which Argentina is a signatory and UN GA resolution 1514(XV) which covers the case of the Falkland Islands, for which Argentina voted

Great Britain tried negotiations in good faith, but Argentina attacked it and ended negotiations

Take nationalist Argentine objection to the UN International Court of Justice if you dare...?
3 Think (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 04:09 pm Report abuse
That's my favourite picture of el Pepe...........

Thank's Mr. G
4 ChrisR (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 04:13 pm Report abuse
It is difficult for Uruguay, a country of 4.5M people to resist the bullies of Argentina with 40M people when other countries do not signify support for them if the bullies were to invade.

Let's be frank. Argentina is not that stupid that it would take Britain on again, but Uruguay, that's altogher different.

I would hope that Britain backs Uruguay against any threat from the regions crackpots (or should that be crackheads).
5 Be serious (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 05:21 pm Report abuse
“Tricky liar”
That's not very nice. Shame on you.
You are beginning to sound a little bit desperate.
And so you should. Not one square metre of British South Atlantic Territory will ever belong to Argentinian scumbags. No offence.
6 Cruzansailor (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 06:07 pm Report abuse
And while people are spouting hatred against each other and each others nations, what did your leaders do for you today? They screwed you again!
7 J.A. Roberts (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 07:18 pm Report abuse
Islas Malvinas, you need to get up to speed. The UN calls for negotiations to resolve the dispute over sovereignty. It has never called for a transfer of sovereignty to Argetnina, nor has the UN ever said the Falklands are rightfully Argentine territory.

The process of decolonisation and the Falkland Islanders' rights are unaffected.
8 xbarilox (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 09:48 pm Report abuse
President Mujica is not acting according to his beliefs, Uruguay is a vary small country compared to Argentina and Brazil, so Mujica has no other chance but to do what's best for his country, and Uruguay needs money like all countries do, and Argentina and Brazil means money to Uruguay.
9 Rhaurie-Craughwell (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 10:59 pm Report abuse
1 Malvinarse, wasn't it the UN who also said that all colonies must have independence? The UN only said it was a special situation because it was the subject of a sovereignty dispute by your country....

In fact please quote one UN resolution stating the islands are Argentina's and must be returned to her.....I can't :)
10 Kelper San (#) Dec 23rd, 2011 - 11:29 pm Report abuse
to the argi bloggers on here I say Happy Christmas and may the New Year bring to you all that you wish on others, and Santa says stop bloody asking for the Falklands as your not getting them.
11 lsolde (#) Dec 24th, 2011 - 11:44 am Report abuse
Amen to that Kelper San.
But it is funny to read their wild ravings.
Merry Christmas
12 ynsere (#) Dec 24th, 2011 - 08:23 pm Report abuse
I don't think the ordinary Uruguayan cares much who's in charge in the Falklands. But well over half the population is against Argentina (as opposed to being pro-Falklands). This is the result of many, many instances of Argentine bullying over the years, and things have been particularly bad during the Kitchner administrations, as they were in Perón's time. Uruguayans tend to like Argentinians as individuals, it's just that when there are more than a very few of them, they gang together with a bullying instinct. Since colonial times.
13 Alejomartinez (#) Dec 25th, 2011 - 04:31 pm Report abuse
Come on, be realistic and not so farcical. What's the news? Uruguay has ALWAYS supported Argentina's sovereingty rights over the Malvinas, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas. There's no surprise and stop talking about the “past” as if it had been any different. What has happened is that Uruguay has had to be coherent with that historical position on a very concrete matter. Stop crying over spilt milk and don't underestimate Argentina. As with Uruguay, the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean are on the same board, i.e., Argentina's legitimate sovereignty over these islands illegaly occupied by the UK since 1833. Not only my words but the UN's doctrine also. GREAT JOB ARGENTINA ONCE AGAIN
14 Ernie4001 (#) Dec 25th, 2011 - 06:33 pm Report abuse
It´s fun to see argentines believing that everybody in latam is worried about their issue with the Falklands.
15 ynsere (#) Dec 25th, 2011 - 06:44 pm Report abuse
Dear Alejo, I beg to differ. I live in Uruguay and speak to Uruguayans every day. It's one thing for the gov't to pay lip service to BA bullies and Mercosur ideals (mostly disrespected by Argentina herself), and it's another for the population to enjoy being bullied. If you have any influence, please work on behalf of Uruguay to put an end to Argentine trade obstacles, and on behalf of rights of way for Paraguayan electric power and Bolivian natural gas to cross your territory to Uruguay, not to mention the dredging of Martín García canal and so many other “niets”. It would be nice to have good neighbours, because we have no more chance of taking over Argentina than you have of getting back the Falklands.
16 ChrisR (#) Dec 25th, 2011 - 07:26 pm Report abuse
13 Alejomartinez “and don't underestimate Argentina”
Or you will what, run away and cry to your LATAM 'friends'? Who will do exactly nothing (read below and GET REAL).

15 ynsere

Very good post, but I suspect you are wasting your time with the Argentinos.

Even though their only real chance of getting anywhere is the ICJ, they will not do that because they know that the Islanders history of 9 generations of settlement would be considered before anything else.

Argentina has no history of legal settlement, they have lost before they even start.
17 Pirat-Hunter (#) Dec 26th, 2011 - 09:54 am Report abuse
there is nothing wrong with asking british illegal aliens to get documented, repatriated or come clean with international laws and order, are latin americans, Mexicans and negros the only people who have to sit in line and apply for a visa ?? why do this royalist and colonist get the help and protection from IMF, UN and WTO when it is soo darn hard for natives to protect even their drinking water ??? if this doesn't stop now, the only way to get changes done will be with terrorism, the only voice white trash understands. .

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