Fresh back from the Falkland Islands where he spent a week, Argentina's former vice-president and currently lawmaker Julio Cleto Cobos calls for closer links with the Islands, and insists that the Malvinas Experience (Vivir Malvinas) challenge should not be banned to nobody, rather the contrary.
However he also underlines that Argentine sovereignty over the Falklands and other South Atlantic Islands is no issue of discussion since as the national Constitution states, they are an integral part of Argentine territory and a permanent unrenounceable objective of the Argentine people.
Cobos is a former governor from Mendoza, currently a lawmaker in the Lower House and was Vice-president of Cristina Fernandez 2007/2001 until they split over farm taxes, to the extent that there was no dialogue between them.
He is also a presidential hopeful for 2015 and chose the Falklands as his campaign starting point.
Vivir Malvinas is closer to 'living the experience of Malvinas'. Follows a non reviewed translation of the article.
A few days ago I had the opportunity to travel, get to know and 'experience Malvinas'. During a week, there is only a weekly flight on Saturdays, I was there, part of a strong, intense experience full of contrasting feelings.
I travelled to Darwin to honor and pray for those fallen in combat, in particular my high school pal and friend, First Lieutenant Jorge Castro.
I also visited Puerto Argentino, Bahía de Gitanos and several places where decisive battles of the conflict took place: Monte Longdon, Wireless Ridge, among others.
I walked by the hills and found some of the dug holes where during months lived and battled our fellow countrymen, enduring the harshness of a crude unpredictable climate. Even today you can find vestiges and supplies of that war that should have never existed and that despite all the shortages it was upheld by brave soldiers. Besides having to deal with the climate hostility, they fought heroically in disadvantageous situations from war and technological points of view. I learnt about a vast number of heroic acts, of acknowledgement of mutual bravery, of pain, of absence, of death.
Besides in Malvinas I found two realities. A military base which intimidates, where the international airport operates, some 70 kilometers from Puerto Argentino. Nothing justifies this presence. On the other hand and distant from the base, a rural population of Islanders of several generations concentrated, a majority, in Puerto Argentino and made up of a great variety of nationalities, over fifty, with a predominance of Chileans.
I also perceived the cost of the war for the Islanders. According to the elderly, before 1982 they had access to the continent: there were Aerolíneas flights, postal service, education and healthcare in Rio Gallegos and Buenos Aires, etc. Polite, mistrustful, correct; with sad and painful memories, just like ours. A war can be won or lost in political and factual terms, but always both sides lose on the human aspect.
We must rebuild bridges, without contradicting what our Magna Chart states: the indeclinable sovereignty over the Islands. Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas is not a discussion point, but I do not shun the challenge of links to the Islands, to bring them closer to the continent, to comply with every single word of what is stated in our National Constitution: The Argentine Nation ratifies its legitimate and non prescriptive sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the corresponding maritime and insular spaces, because they are an integral part of national territory. The recovery of those territories and the full exercises of sovereignty respecting the way of life of its inhabitants and in compliance with the principles of international law, are a permanent unrenounceable objective of the Argentine people.
I am aware there is no other path than that of peace and diplomacy and I value the efforts from the different successive governments under democracy, so that through dialogue and the intervention of international organizations, we can achieve for Malvinas the destiny we wish.
Malvinas is an experience that must not be banned to nobody; hopefully others will accept this challenge.
Experiencing Malvinas, necessary and indispensable