Falklands Islands betrayal: Residents terrified Corbyn would cave in to Argentina
The question has soured UK/Argentinian relations for centuries, and boiled over in 1982 when Buenos Aires launched its infamous military invasion, with Argentinian forces occupying the Falklands for more than three months before they were repelled by a Royal Navy task force sent by UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Now the issue may be back on the agenda, after Alberto Fernandez of the Justicialist Party, the populist movement founded by Juan and Evita Peron in 1947, emerged victorious.
Speaking during the campaign, Mr Fernandez said he wanted to “renew the claim of sovereignty over what Argentina refers to as the Malvinas.
Two days before the vote, a photo taken in 2013 emerged which showed Mr Corbyn with Argentine politicians as they push the country’s sovereignty claim.
Mr Corbyn joined Daniel Filmus, then-Secretary for the Falklands in the Argentinian Government, and Guillermo Carmona, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies, at a Pro-Dialogue Conference.
His appearance was greeted with scepticism in many quarters, and former journalist Simon Arthur last week told Express.co.uk that in Argentina, the very word “dialogue” served as shorthand for the establishment of Argentinian sovereignty.
He added: “I can’t get inside his mind obviously but I think he would withdraw the garrison down there.
“Labour Party policy is that the islanders have a right to self-determination but there are lots of ways of messing with them.
“If he just withdrew the garrison then that would take away the two weekly RAF flights as well.”
Gavin Short, who is the news editor of Radio Falklands, and whose ancestors moved to the islands in 1849, told Express.co.uk: “Neither Conservatives nor Labour have a good track record on the Falklands if you go back far enough.
“There is a fear here than some within the business community or even Foreign office might sacrifice the Falklands on the altar of trade and we shall have to be alive to that.
“But as things stand, folk here (and I am only looking at the two leaders) trust Boris but don’t trust Corbyn at all as he is looked on by us as being pro-Argentine.
“We do know that the rank and file of the Labour party are actually behind the Falklands.
“It only seems to be their leader who has different ideas.
“A few of us have scratched our heads as to why this is and the only thing we can come up with is that he somehow associates the Falklands with Mrs Thatcher and just can’t get past that.”
In an interview with the left-wing Red Pepper magazine four years ago - before he was elected Labour leader - Mr Corbyn blamed Labour’s heavy election defeat in 1983 on the boost in popularity Mrs Thatcher received after the Falklands War.
He said: “The party in ’83 presented a very interesting electoral platform but lots of people in the party were quite frightened of it, and the Tories were running essentially a fairly xenophobic election surrounding the Falklands war which we never challenged.”
Mr Fernandez scored a convincing victory in last Sunday’s poll, winning 48.1 percent of the vote, with incumbent and Mauricio Macri, of the Republican Proposal party, scored 40.4 percent.
An independent candidate, Roberto Lavagna, scored 6.2 percent.
Alicia Castro, who organised the aforementioned event which Mr Corbyn attended, lobbied alongside the country’s 1982 war veterans and the Province of Tierra del Fuego for the hard-line policy over the Falklands which was advocated by Mr Fernandez and vice-presidential running mate Cristina de Kirchner, who is herself a former President of the country.
Express.co.uk has asked the Labour Party to comment on Mr Corbyn’s appearance at the event, and to restate the party’s policy with regard to the Falkland Islands.