Not since the halcyon days of the Soviet Union has a vote been so lopsided, but there was no fraud or coercion. Ninety-two percent turnout; over 98 percent support for the Falkland Islands to retain its status as a British Overseas Territory. It is time for Argentina to give up its claim and respect the democratic will of the islands’ residents.
A supporter of Argentine President Cristina Kirchner expressed dismay: “We must denounce this trickery that pretends to represent the popular participation of an implanted population.” But as one British pundit pointed out, the descendants of implanted Europeans who have lived for generations on the Falklands have a better claim than the descendants of implanted Europeans who have lived for generations in Argentina.
The Argentine Embassy in Ottawa responded to the vote by offering assurances that “the Argentine Constitution specifically protects the way of life of the population of the Malvinas Islands.” But in 20 years, the Falkland Islanders will celebrate the bicentennial of British administration over islands that were first charted by an English explorer. It is time for Argentina to let go.
The Globe and Mail, Toronto