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Publish Date : Friday 27 January 2012 - 16:54
'Malvinas, last UK outpost in S America'
Interview with Isaac Bigio, a Latin American expert
Islam Times - Argentina's President Cristina Kirchner has slammed British Prime Minister David Cameron for, what she called, Britain's efforts to portray her country as 'violent' in remarks regarding the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands.
The islands are located some 250 nautical miles from Argentina and have been occupied by the UK for more than 180 years.

Argentina claims sovereignty over the territory as it used to control it prior to its colonization by the British.

Last week, Cameron downplayed the UK's colonialist rule over the islands, saying Buenos Aires' recent remarks regarding the territory were “actually far more like colonialism.”

The UK-based company, Borders and Southern Petroleum, is reportedly due to begin drilling for oil on the islands in February 2012.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Isaac Bigio, a Latin American expert in London, to further discuss the issue.

The video offers the opinions of two additional guests: Richard Becker of the A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition in San Francisco and Gloria La Riva, a Latin America expert in San Francisco.

Following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Why did the British prime minister make that statement towards Argentina of having colonial tendencies?

Bigio: Well first off all, I wanted to say something. The occupation of Las Malvinas came almost at the same time of the British occupation of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has seven million people, but more than ten years ago Britain gave back this territory to China.

Malvinas was part of Argentina at that time, and it living three thousands inhabitants and it is still under British domain. Albeit, Malvinas don't have any electoral right in Britain!

But on the other hand, the question about David Cameron, I think that one of the reasons why Margaret Thatcher became so strong in the early eighties is because of the Malvinas war.

In fact, none of the economic programs, none of the attack on the Unions, the attack on the Left and the consolidation of the new economic model would have happened in Britain without the Malvinas war.

So for the Conservative parties, Malvinas is also a plack that is very important to the political forces.

That is why Cameron must show strength in the Malvinas Falkland issues, because this is part of the Conservative legacy.

And also, this is a problem of oil, and problem of fishery. Because Malvinas Falkland Island has a very rich oil potential!

Press TV: Let's really look at what officials in Argentina and Latin America are thinking. I mean, British attitude doesn't really help, in which they have closed the doors at the UN recommended diplomacy. I mean they came out and said that the sovereignty of the Falklands is not up for negotiations, that's the Foreign Office spokeswoman Sophie Benger.

Why are they not even open to talk about it? They have called in non-negotiable.

At the same time they want to have a full and productive relationship with Argentina, based on this foreign office spokeswoman.

Bigio: Well, I wanted to show a contradiction.

For example in Spain, you have Gibraltar which is in the hands of Britain, since the beginning of the United Kingdom, in the early 1300s.

Gibraltar has ten times more population than the Malvinas. But the important thing is that in Gibraltar, the British government can deal with Spain, they have discussions, despite that 99 percent of Gibraltar is against coming back to Spain.

And now, Spain has a new government, a new right-wing government, which is even tougher on the question of Gibraltar, than the previous Socialist government.

But the Conservative in this country, and the Popular government in Spain, have some links, they discuss the question of Gibraltar. It's not an accusation of Britain where Spain is colonialist.

But look now to the Malvinas, it was captured by Britain, while it was a territory from Argentina.

The other thing is this, all the former enclave of Britain in the Latin American countries has been given back to the Latin American countries.

For example, the Sacandaga Provincia, the island is part of Colombia. The Mosquito Coast is now part of Honduras and Nicaragua.

The only countries that became independent nations were Belize and Guyana, because it was British colony, but have a nation. They have hundred thousands of people, they have a local identity.

In the case of the Malvinas Falkland, that is the only, the latest outpost of the British Empire inside the Latin America!

Okay, you can talk (sic). But these are little islands which have never been part of a Latin America country.

But in the case of Malvinas, this was part of a Latin American country.

And what happened? The entire Latin American region is in favor of the Malvinas coming back to Argentina.

And they want that the British have the same relation with Argentina as they have with Spain regarding Gibraltar, and with China regarding Hong Kong.

Press TV: Let me bring your attention to a UK-based, London Stock Exchange listed company named Borders and Southern Petroleum, plc, which will start drilling on the islands in about 30 days, February 19 to be exact: to tap into 8.3 billion barrels, 3 times the reserves of the UK.

Doesn't this issue need to be resolved before then? And if it doesn't, then what reaction could we witness likely to see from Argentina?

In addition, one of the major shareholders of this company is Sir Paul Ruddock, who has also been awarded a knighthood and a major donor to the Conservative party while having ties with Cameron.

So I would assume this may have something to do with it. Tell us your reaction when you hear about who may be behind the push of Britain tapping into the oil field?

Bigio: Well you really have the information; I think you have a point on that.

I only wanted to say that it is in the best interest of Britain to have a different view with Argentina.

Because, Argentina was the most (sic) in Latin America. It is the only country in the world that has a …

Press TV: But they don't want to talk about it! They say that this is not an issue that can be discussed, while saying that they are open to have a diplomatic relations.

So how is this going to be discussed? In 30 days time, they are going to start drilling. The issue needs to be resolved.

Bigio: No I don't think there is going to be a military action in 30 days. I don't think that Britain want to have. They have armies in Afghanistan, Libya in Iraq. They are discussing about bombing Iran, and bombing Syria.

I don't think there is a possibility of Britain opening a new war front. What we will se happening in the next month is a lot of pushing and a lot of diplomatic tensions.

Press TV: What reaction will be witness from Argentina when they start drilling?

Bigio: Well I think that there is going to be a lot of demonstrations in the streets. It's going to be a lot of Latin American solidarity.

Perhaps there is going to be some movement that will ask for closure or intervention in some British companies.

And it is also going to put in jeopardy some of the British interest in other countries.

For instance in Peru, most of the wineries is part of British companies.

So that is why I think, it is better for the interests of Britain to have a more diplomatic approach to Argentina, because it could affect their entire interest in Latin America.
Story Code: 133482