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Brazil helped Soviet support operation for Argentina during the Falklands conflict

Monday, April 23rd 2012 - 09:21 UTC
Full article 34 comments
To this day the Brazilian Foreign Ministry (Itamaraty) always stated it was ‘neutral’ during the conflict To this day the Brazilian Foreign Ministry (Itamaraty) always stated it was ‘neutral’ during the conflict

Brazil collaborated during the 1982 Falkland Islands conflict in an operation mounted by the Soviets to supply Argentina with spares, arms, munitions and other requirements according to the Rio do Janeiro newspaper O’Globo based on disclosed documents from the National Security Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The documents contradict what has been official policy since the time of the conflict and that was the “neutrality” of Brazil, which allegedly did not take sides in 1982.

The clandestine logistics operation was organized by the former Soviet Union with the help of Cuba, Peru, Libya and Angola and using the airports of Recife (Pernambuco northeast Brazil) and Rio do Janeiro for the air bridge.

The basic argument was that since the US was supporting the UK in the recovery of the Falklands, the Soviet Union called on Cuba to organize the support operation in the framework of the Cold War.

The first contact of Soviet diplomats offering support to Argentina occurred a week after the conflict began, on April 9, according to a report from the Brazilian navy.

However the first aircraft, Cuban flagged caused an incident since Brazil and Havana at the time had no diplomatic relations. The situation was overcome following six hours of discussions with Argentine diplomats, and the plane was allowed to continue.

According to O’Globo the air traffic was ‘intense’, (up to two daily flights in the peak of the conflict) and while Brazil preached ‘neutrality’ it was helping then Junta chief General Galtieri to receive missiles, mines and other weapons in aircraft from the Soviet Union which before reaching Brazil called at Lybia

According to Brazil’s National Security Council, Argentina’s list of requests included “credits for triangle trade operations to purchase weapons in Europe”, aircraft, incendiary bombs and ammo for small weapons, as well as radars and air fuel.

At the time the Brazilian ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended a “favourable treatment” to the requests in their passage through Brazil.

The Aerolineas airbridge became a routine flight on May 26 until the end of the conflict.

O’Globo also exposed a disclosed document from the British embassy to the Foreign Ministry protesting that Brasilia was allowing its airports to receive flights with “lethal cargo” en route to Argentina while a RAF bomber was retained during the whole conflict, after having landed in Rio do Janeiro with mechanical problems following a bombing raid on the Falklands.

Brasilia replied that in its inspections of Aerolineas Argentinas flights originating in Tripoli, Lybia “nothing of military nature had been found”.

O’Globo also mentions that Peru supplied Argentina with Mirage aircraft and spares as well as Exocet missiles.

The Rio newspaper mentions a second source of weapons and arms for Argentina, this time from Israel and two air routes, one with calls at the Canary Islands and Rio do Janeiro and a second with stops in Venezuela, and Lima, Peru.

Apparently the British were aware of these clandestine operations.

Top Comments

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  • reality check

    Is anyone suprised at the revelation?

    Apr 23rd, 2012 - 10:09 am 0
  • Xect

    Not really and as the article states the UK was aware of all of these supposed clandestine operations.

    Still its interesting to see Argentina was supported by quite a few SA countries during the conflict.

    Apr 23rd, 2012 - 11:14 am 0
  • Chicureo

    I attended a British English school (The Grange) and we were completely cheering for the UK. (My older cousins were serving in the navy during the build up of the near war in 1978, so the feeling was that Argentina needed to be defeated. (We actually though at the time of the invasion that Briton would never be able to recover the islands. We were awed by the superiority of Argentina, including their aircraft carrier.)
    #1 No #2 This was well monitored by Chile and the UK during the conflict. The mirror side of the story is the clandestine support for the UK via France (They played both sides), the Americans, the Belgians and of course all coordinated with private contractors in the south of Chile.
    I was not in the naval service until much later after the war, but it was no secret. In our officer's club there is a display case with a number of authentic combat knives on display: The Argentine Cuchillo de Paracaidista, a Finnish WWII Puukko, the SAS Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting dagger and USMC K-bar, but the the most difficult was an authentic was a Kukri of the Gurkhas as all the knives on display have been traded exchange for a Chilean Corvo. None of the knives is a reproduction.
    During the Falklands war we were getting new radar, crated Hawker Hunter jets, missiles, spare parts, anything we wished. Supposedly when the British special liaison officer was asked for an authentic Kukri, he rolled his eyes and said that the Nepalese were not very friendly about exchanging knives. About a fortnight later we received several without any problem and a note of thanks for our Corvos. It seems they fully expected to be operational in Patigonia and were very enthusiastic in fostering good relations with our combat troops. The SAS sent only one dagger, but it is truly beautiful.
    A sad comment is the treatment of innocent Chilean and Argentine nationals in Patagonia by both our governments as espionage suspects. Really disgraceful!

    Apr 23rd, 2012 - 12:31 pm 0
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