Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva talking off the cuff in Cancun, Mexico, condemned on Tuesday the United Nations Organization (UN) and its Security Council for not recognizing Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands.
Lula was making a speech at the Summit of Latin America and the Caribbean, which ended Tuesday. “Our attitude is one of solidarity with Argentina,” Lula said, adding the question: “What is the geographical, political and economic explanation for England to be in the Malvinas?”
“What is the explanation for the United Nations never having that decision? It is not possible that Argentina is not the owner while England is, despite being 14,000 km away.”
For the Brazilian leader the reason this happens is the fact that Britain is a permanent member of the Security Council. He used the occasion to once again call for the admission of more members to the council, increasing its representativeness. Brazil wants to be one of the new members.
“Is it possible that Britain can do everything and while others can do nothing?,” Lula went on. “We need to start pushing so that the UN secretary reopen this debate.”
The 33 presidents present in Cancun, including Lula, signed a document supporting the Argentine position, recognizing that Argentina owns the islands.
Argentina has upped the pressure on England in the dispute over the South Atlantic islands known variously as Falkland or Malvinas by decreeing that all maritime navigation in Argentine territorial waters, or between Argentina and the islands, must receive prior authorization.
This occurs just as British petroleum companies begin to drill for petroleum in the ocean approximately 100 kilometers north of the islands. The decree will make any such exploration activities more expensive and difficult.
The Argentine vice chancellor, Victorio Taccetti, admitted that was exactly the objective. “The decree is part of a strategic defense of our legitimate rights to the islands, which are systematically disregarded by the British government,” he declared.
England and Argentina have long disputed ownership of the islands (two large ones and a total of over 700 small ones). Since 1833 they have been English (Argentina had control of them from 1820 to 1833). In 1982, the two countries fought a two-month long war over them.
The population totals 3,140 and one of the problems that Argentina faces is that the inhabitants are almost unanimous in wanting to retain British citizenship.