Falklands row boils over as Argentina says UK 'usurped territory' and 'plundered' wealth
And Mr Filmus, who as Secretary of Affairs pertaining to the Malvinas, has responsibility for his Government’s policy in the area, warned he would not stop until his country’s flag “flies over the islands again”. Mr Filmus made his views plain in an op-ed written for the Infobae website to coincide with his Government’s decision to commemorate “the Day of the Reaffirmation of Argentine Rights over the Malvinas Islands and Antarctic Sector."
The occasion is ostensibly to honour a decree which Argentina claims created the Military Command of the Malvinas Islands and those adjacent to Cape Horn on June 10, 1829.
The date also marks the 192nd anniversary of the appointment of Luis Vernet as Governor - although his role is a controversial one, given the British had also staked a claim on the Falklands.
Mr Filmus said: “Although since 1810 our country has permanently exercised its rights in this region as the legitimate heir of Spain, something fundamental was delegated to the Commander in relation to the effective exercise of sovereignty: to preserve the natural resources of the Malvinas, in particular the marine fauna, that ships from other countries - mainly the United States, France or Great Britain - came to extract.
“Within his attributions as a political-military commander and as responsible for enforcing the regulations imposed by our country, Vernet captured three North American fishing boats in 1831, which caused the United States to send the Corvette USS Lexington to attack Puerto Soledad and destroy a large part of the town.
“With the same interests, the British Crown also forcibly occupied the Malvinas Islands in 1833 and evicted the Argentine population that lived there. From that moment on, the United Kingdom not only usurped our territory, but also illegally and illegitimately plundered the immense wealth that these southern areas possess.”
The “illegal occupation” has also enabled the British to claim sovereignty over a significant portion of the Argentine Antarctic Sector, Mr Filmus claimed.
He added: “Today, 192 years after the creation of the Malvinas Political and Military Command, we reaffirm that the sovereign rights of Argentina over the Islands continue to have the same legitimacy, the same strength and the same consensus among the nations of Latin America and the world.
“After 188 years of British usurpation, the United Kingdom maintains the same purposes as when it invaded the islands by force: to take the wealth that belongs to the 45 million Argentines, to control the geopolitically strategic bi-oceanic passage, to have sovereignty over the Antarctic Sector and consolidate a military base that protects its colonial ambition and represents an armed threat to the entire region.
“In addition to never having consented to the British usurpation and having protested continuously against this act that violates international law, throughout this time our country has maintained the objective of recovering the effective exercise of sovereignty over the islands.”
Alberto Fernandez, Argentina’s President, has designated the question of sovereignty over the islands as a policy of state, and Mr Filmus pointed out - in other words, this was a top priority for his administration.
Mr Filmus said: “And in that direction, he has tried to generate the conditions for consensus to advance in strategies that strengthen the claim to sovereignty and that promote economic development by integrating the territory and wealth that belong to us in the South Atlantic.
“The current challenge is to move away both from policies that give up firmly claiming for our just rights, and from those that reduce our action to exalted rhetoric that, devoid of content, does not build any true path that allows us to successfully navigate the road to the recovery of sovereignty.”
It was necessary to develop strategies that enabled Argentina to “take advantage of the new conditions of the world order” in order to strengthen its claim over the Falklands, as well as “consolidating our effective presence in the South Atlantic and Antarctica”, Mr Filmus claimed.
He added: “With this last objective, today, together with the President of the Nation and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Science and Technology, we will be presenting a set of scientific research programs that will reinforce our vocation of sovereignty.
“We will continue working to build State policies aimed at ensuring that the United Kingdom agrees to resume the bilateral dialogue called for by the United Nations in its Resolution 2065.”
Mr Filmus suggested such a dialogue was necessary in order to “end colonialism and recover the exercise of sovereignty in our Malvinas Islands”.
Referring to the 1982 invasion initiated by Argentina’s then-military junta General Leopoldo Galtieri, which in turn triggered the Falklands War in which almost 1,000 soldiers were killed, Mr Filmus said: “The Argentine people once again ratify, as they have done with conviction throughout history, upholding the legacy of those who fought and those who gave their lives in the struggle for the Malvinas, the peaceful claim for the end of colonialism and the full exercise of sovereignty over those territories, until our flag flies over the islands again.”
The Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory.
Speaking to Express.co.uk last year, a spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “Our position on the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands is in no doubt, with the Islanders making clear they wish to remain a part of the United Kingdom.
“There can be no discussions on sovereignty unless and until the Falkland Islanders so wish.”