Argentine president Cristina Fernandez again called on the UK to hold talks over the sovereignty of the Falklands/Malvinas Islands during her address to Congress on Friday when she delivered the ‘State of the Nation’ speech and formally opened the 131st legislative sessions.
Argentina claims again to the UK, in the presence of all provinces, government and opposition lawmakers, dialogue over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands as the resolutions of the United Nations indicate, she said during the 3 hours and 40 minutes speech before Congress for the formal inauguration of the legislative year.
She added that the Malvinas Argentine sovereignty and dialogue request is supported by Mercosur, Unasur and the 54 African countries, “the world is the one clamouring for dialogue” and continued “we’re not asking them to say we are right, but to sit and dialogue”.
However this time the Malvinas issue involved just a fraction of the three hours and forty minutes speech she delivered praising the economic and social achievement of the ten years of ‘Kirchnerism’ but also blasting ‘vulture funds’ and exposing shortcomings and sins of the Judiciary which she promised to reform with several bills already drafted and to be sent to Congress to make this branch of government ‘more transparent and popular’.
Insisting with dialogue the Argentine president said “we believe diplomacy is the only thing we have to defend peace” and highlighted that “yes, we want sovereignty over the Islands but we want it in peace”, a value no one talks about.
And peace is important “because we had nothing to do with that dictatorship we Argentines suffered and endured and we all repudiate” and was involved in the military adventure in the Islands.
The Argentine president then went to add how was it possible that UK authorities could sit down and have a dialogue with those guilty of genocide, “but refuse to talk to democratic governments elected by the people and that have made the defence of human rights their banner?”
Cristina Fernandez also mentioned that on arrival to Congress she unveiled one of seven Argentine flags that were hoisted in the Malvinas Islands during the ‘Condor Operation’ back in September 1966 and which was handed to her by the widow of Dardo Cabo the Peronist militant that hijacked a commercial passenger plane and had it land in the Falklands’ racing course.
The flag is one of seven taken by the 18 members of the group, but was the largest and the one which was hoisted longer, “the oldest, dirtiest, most battered by the wind but full of dignity and sovereignty” said Cristina Fernandez. The flag (probably 1.50 by over 3 meters) is now in a wooden and glass casing in one of the Congress halls. It includes a shinny brass inscription President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.
On 28 September 1966 a group of 18 young Peronist militants, students and workers hijacked an Aerolineas Argentinas DC4 with 35 passengers flying to Rio Gallegos and forced it to land in Stanley racecourse. The group besides the seven flags was heavily armed, with war weapons smuggled into the aircraft, and had the purpose of taking over the Governor’s residence.
However the aircraft got stuck in the soggy wet turf of the racecourse and was rapidly surrounded by members of the Falklands’ defence force and a small group of UK marines stationed in the Islands.
After 36 hours and the mediation of the local Catholic priest, Father Roel the group handed their weapons and surrendered to the Catholic Church. They were later picked up by the Argentine vessel Bahia Buen Suceso.
Back in Argentina as heroes nevertheless fifteen had to spend nine months in jail and the three leaders three years sentenced for “kidnapping, having war weapons, compromising peace and dignity of the Nation, criminal association, public intimidation, piracy and qualified robbery”. At the time there was no description of plane hijacking as a crime.
The widow of militant Dardo Cobo, killed in 1977 by the Argentine military, kept the original main flag hoisted on the aircraft and handed it to Cristina Fernandez. Five other flags from the Condor operation have been distributed among several museums and the Virgin of Itai in the province of Corrientes, and the last one is reserved for the Malvinas Museum planned at the former notorious Argentine Navy Mechanical School, now turned into a human rights memorial.