The growing fervor among Argentines to take control of the Falklands stretches across the full spectrum of society. Facing re-election next year, Argentinian President Nestor Kirchner leads the pack and is exploiting the issue to rouse his country’s nationalistic spirit and garner more votes.
So personal to Kirchner is the issue that he has gone so far as to enlist the support of other left-leaning leaders in South America such as Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Kirchner’s quest for sovereignty over the Falklands, according to Buenos Aires-based political analyst Rosendo Fraga, has evolved from being an issue of mere sovereignty for Argentina to one that is “provid[ing] a rallying point to gather left-leaning Latin American governments into an anti-colonial bloc” (Guardian, June 30).
Kirchner’s more hard-line approach on the Falklands will inevitably strain his government’s relations with Britain. Concurrent with this trend, Kirchner will likely continue to align with other left-wing governments in South and Central America as they seek to marginalize U.S. and British influence in the region. With anti-Western sentiment spreading throughout Central and South America, Kirchner’s quest for the Falklands is just as much about curbing British and American influence in the region as anything.
The real impact of such a course of action will be felt primarily by Britain. A transfer of sovereignty over the Falklands would boost Argentina’s regional and international image, but more importantly, it would further deflate Britain’s tattered global image. Britain’s reputation is at stake here.
Five years ago, the Trumpet said that the days of Britain owning the Falklands are numbered. We stand by this prediction.