The Argentine 2015 presidential campaign has reached the Falkland Islands. Presidential hopeful and former Vice-president Julio Cleto Cobos is currently visiting the Falklands where he arrived on Saturday on the Lan Chile weekly flight and will spend the rest of the week in the Islands.
His trip together with one of his aides, a Malvinas veteran Jose Martiniano Duarte, has had ample media coverage in Argentina but even more in the social nets, facebook and twitter, where he is constantly updating photos of his visit with different Falklands scenarios.
Particularly outstanding was his Sunday's visit to the Argentine memorial in Darwin, where according to this twitters he honored our heroes and more specifically one of the graves which holds the remains of one of his Military School pals, killed during the South Atlantic conflict.
There are numerous pictures of him smiling, walking along the waterfront and some emblematic scenarios of Stanley. He's only missing the traditional 'flesh pressing' with crowds and 'baby hugging' of political campaigns which seems difficult he will manage in the Falklands.
”A (Argentine) presidential candidate had never come to Malvinas his aide was quoted by Clarin in reference to presidential hopeful Cobos, who was Cristina Fernandez Vice-president from 2007 to 2011, although they split following the 2008 farmers' dispute with the Argentine government.
A member of the opposition Radical party and originally the governor of Mendoza he was convinced by former president Nestor Kirchner to join the 2007 presidential ticket when the Kirchner's idea was to form a wide ranging political front to counter the hard core hegemonic Peronist movement.
Cobos, an engineer and university professor at the time was identified as a K-Radicals, those who crossed lines and joined Kirchnerism. He was a faithful number two until the farmers' conflict over taxes when he cast the July 2008 decisive vote in the Senate and contributed to the major defeat of the Cristina Fernandez administration.
My vote no is positive...my vote is against the bill, said Cobos, may history judge me if I'm wrong.
From that point onwards Cristina Fernandez never again addressed him and even cut on her foreign travel so she would not have to let Cobos as president during her absence. He was referred to as the 'traitor' or the 'squatter' for rejecting constant pressures for his resignation. When Cristina Fernandez was re-elected in 2011 and against protocol the presidential sash was handed to the president by her daughter Florencia Kirchner and not the president of the Senate, Julio Cobos.
The now Falklands' visitor already in 2011 expressed his presidential ambitions but returned to Congress as a member of the Lower House for the province on Mendoza in 2013. Now he is part of an opposition coalition with several hopefuls targeting primaries and the presidential election of 2015, when Cristina Fernandez' second term will be over.
Ruling a country is not simply winning an election. A head of State must prepare, learn, investigate and look for alternatives. And one of the challenges an Argentine president has in foreign policy is Malvinas. I always considered indispensable coming to Malvinas, learn about its territory, climate, customs and pay homage to our soldiers who gave their lives for the Islands, Cobos was quoted by Clarin.
Apparently the trip had long been planned and was first programmed for last April but a meeting with Pope Francis forced to postpone the date. However he somehow anticipated his trip this time when last Friday 20 June he posted in his twitter a picture of an Argentine flag flying in the Darwin cemetery with the reading: White and sky-blue ¡long live the motherland!.
But before making the trip Cobos made it plain clear it was not an official trip; he was not going to the Falklands as a member of Congress or in any diplomatic mission. He came as a simple citizen and candidate, all the bills are on him said his aide.
Apparently sometime this week Cobos and his aide the former Lieutenant Colonel Duarte plan to visit Port Howard since the ex officer killed in combat British captain John Hamilton and had him buried with full military honors. According to Clarin, years later Duarte met the widow of Captain Hamilton.
With my wife we followed the (1982) war events by radio. It's hard to recreate with the distance of time and space, moments lived when the war: the climate hostility, the war effort and technology disadvantages. The boys fought heroically” said Cobos, who next September most probably will be travelling to the United States as part of his foreign policy teachings.