The Argentine government decision to impede a return humanitarian flight from Montevideo to Mount Pleasant Complex in the Falkland Islands received ample coverage in the Uruguayan and Argentine media.
The chartered flight of Amaszonas had requested authorization to cross Argentine air space, which was denied with the corresponding recommendation to the Uruguayan Civil Aviation Administration, which was accepted.
The request was for transporting a born Islander and a couple of Islands' residents to their homes, following medical attention in the British Hospital in Montevideo. The humanitarian flight had been originally approved by Argentine authorities, but the return became complicated since the Amaszonas aircraft, after delivering the Islanders, was scheduled to fly to Montevideo with some twenty plus fishermen, who worked for the international companies operating in Falklands waters with Falklands licenses, which Argentina strongly rejects.
This was the definitive factor for denying the flight to cross Argentine air space, meaning the three Islanders have been left stranded in Montevideo.
A spokesperson for the Argentine foreign ministry pointed out that the flight was not cancelled or prohibited. The non authorization of the flight refers to the fishing crew which would mean the flight is not humanitarian and besides contributes to illegal fishing activities in Argentine waters.
Since the current Argentine president Alberto Fernandez took office last December the policy towards the Falkland Islands and other South Atlantic islands and surrounding maritime spaces has been far more aggressive, very much the pattern of the administration of ex president Cristina Kirchner. Cristina is currently vice president and according to the Buenos Aires media is running the show since the votes belong to her and her faithful hold the critical posts in the cabinet, Congress and much of the administration.
The Argentine congress recently approved, unanimously, three bills referred to the Falklands and fisheries. One of them creates a Malvinas Advisory Council which depends from the Executive and is made up of members from government, opposition, veterans, and academia. A second bill extends the Argentine continental shelf from 200 to 350 miles, in the framework of the UN Law of the Sea, and finally a fisheries bill which hikes fines for illegal fishing in Argentine waters. Fines are based on vessels' fuel, anywhere from 300,000 to a million liters, plus the costs of escorting the poaching vessel to an Argentine port.
Under the previous administration of president Maurico Macri, the approach was more constructive and friendly, although never dropping the sovereignty claim over the Falklands. In September 2016, Argentina and UK signed a communiqué to improve political relations with a special chapter on the South Atlantic which addressed several of the demands from the Islanders. This allowed the resumption of joint scientific fisheries cruises, a more lax policy of charter flights and most important opened the way for the humanitarian task of identifying the remains of Argentine soldiers buried in the Falklands since the conflict of 1982. Under the guidance of the International Red Cross, and consent from the Falklands' people, an international forensics team managed to give names to some 110 of 122/23 grave stones which for several decades simply read Argentine soldier, only known to God. This was followed by several flights of Argentine next of kin to the Islands to cry and pray next to their loved ones.