Uruguayan Senate agrees on a consensus statement on the Malvinas war and ongoing conflict
Argentina’s secretary for Malvinas, Antarctica and South Atlantic affairs, Guillermo Carmona, this week visited Uruguay where he met with the Senate’s International Affairs Committee, as part of the round of contacts with neighboring countries to discuss South Atlantic and Antarctica issues.
Carmona and the Argentine ambassador in Uruguay, Alberto Iribarne were received with a consensus declaration from the Senate ratifying Uruguay’s support for Argentina’s claims in Malvinas and the South Atlantic, plus an acknowledgement to some 763 Uruguayans who, back in 1982 volunteered to combat on the side of the Falklands’ invaders against the British Task Force.
Actually the declaration took four months to reach a consensus since members of the ruling coalition were not so enthusiastic about the wording sponsored by the opposition.
In effect three days after the fortieth anniversary of the Argentine invasion, (2 April 1982), the opposition coalition led by ex president Jose Mujica presented a draft statement, in support of Argentina’s claims, as has been the traditional position of Uruguay, but incorporating terms which the ruling coalition did not accept, since it underlined the sustained usurpation of the Islands by the UK, in one of the last colonial enclaves in Latin America.
The majority group in the ruling coalition, which responds to president Luis Lacalle Pou, presented an alternative avoiding any direct mention or questioning of the British. It stated support for Argentina’s claims pointing out that the disputed territories were an integral part of the neighboring country. The optional draft mentioned the need for the governments of Argentina and the UK to resume, as soon as possible, negotiations on the disputed sovereignty with the purpose of finding a peaceful solution to this longstanding controversy.
Another matter of dispute in the declaration was the Malvinas Question in international forae. The opposition referred to a special declaration from UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) which on 30th December 2012, reiterated its support to the legitimate rights of Argentina and ratified the standing regional interest that the British accept the resumption of negotiations to reach a peaceful and definitive solution to the conflict.
The senior member of the ruling coalition preferred the terms of a statement from 12 November last year at the Organization of American States, OAS, assembly, which was approved by acclamation. The resolution points out to the interest of collaborating through maximum efforts with the highest diplomatic actions of the Argentine government with the purpose of recovering sovereignty, as long as these actions are exercised in peace and following the principles of International Law.
Given the deadlock Senators Gustavo Penadés from the ruling coalition and Daniel Caggiani from the opposition named a sub commission with which to work in finding a consensus.
Finally on August 10 an agreement was reached: avoid using the word usurpation, replaced by occupied and appropriation, when referred to the British presence in the Islands since 1833.
In other words the consensus statement was reached four months since the start of the war (April 2nd) and two since the Argentine surrender (June 14th) in 1982.
The declaration approved extended the Uruguayan Senate acknowledgement to the Malvinas Veterans, the commitment and determination of the fallen in combat, made extensive to all of Argentina. Also included in the honors were the 763 Uruguayans who volunteered but never were called, to defend next to the Argentine Army the archipelago’s sovereignty.
Finally the position presented at the Mercosur summit of December 2021 was incorporated. This pointed out to the standing regional interest that this prolonged sovereignty dispute reaches, as soon as possible, a solution in abidance with the pertinent resolutions from the United Nations Assembly and statements from the Organization of American States, OAS, and other multilateral organizations.
On suggestion from the opposition, besides supporting the legitimate Argentine claim, the invasion of 1982 represented an attempt by the military-civilian dictatorship to conceal the terrible social, political and economic situation to which they had led the country.
During the meeting with the Argentine delegation headed by Carmona, four Uruguayan senators referred to the anniversary and the consensus statement.
Opposition Senator Caggiani underlined the historic links of Uruguay with Argentina and the Malvinas Islands have been and belong to the Latin Americans, and the Argentines.
Ruling coalition Senator Penadés pointed out to the excellent centuries-long relations with Argentina and the United Kingdom, although naturally we consider the Argentine claim of sovereignty on those territories most fair and it is public and notorious the Uruguayan position on the issue both in UN and OAS and any international forum where the question is brought up
Senator Raul Lozano from a junior party of the ruling coalition said that we defend the idea of a Great Motherland, to which all the Americas belong and thus we defend the Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands.
Finally Senator Guillermo Domenech, from the ruling coalition affirmed that the rights of Hispanic America over the Malvinas Islands are unquestionable. He then made a historic description of the strong legal terms which then Uruguayan representative before the UN, Ambassador Carlos Maria Velázquez argued in support of Argentina. Partisanships and sectarianism are dropped when great national interests are at stake, underline Senator Domenech.
Argentine delegate Carmona said the meeting with the Committee had been most interesting and insisted in the important role of parliaments in issues related to oceanic and Antarctic issues.
He recalled that the Malvinas Question in Argentina is state policy, and the current government, Executive and Congress, have created new initiatives such as the National Council for Issues related to Malvinas.
This has been done with a pluralist attitude, where the ruling coalition and opposition, and other actors with different ideological background, have joined behind the efforts to recover sovereignty over the Islands
Caarmona said that Malvinas is not only an Argentine cause, but also a regional and global one which struggles for the disappearance of colonialism in the XXI century.
And more precisely for Uruguay and Argentina it is imperative to address South Atlantic issues, such as reactivating the South Atlantic peace and Cooperation Zone.
We hope that in a near future the foreign affairs committees of both chambers from Argentina and Uruguay can meet to continue with the discussions, concluded Carmona.