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Argentina and the Scottish Independence Referendum

It is interesting that Argentine commentators could not bear to draw the parallel between the Scottish referendum on 18 September and the Falklands referendum of 2013, when democratic  majorities freely decided their political future.

No less a figure than Guillermo Carmona, head of the Committee for International Relations in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies, had to justify Argentina’s denial of the results of the Falklands referendum by arguing that the Falkland Islanders were an implanted people to whom the UN principle of self-determination did not apply. Yet most Falkland Islanders owe their roots to forebears who settled independently in the Falklands just as Argentina was populated by immigrants arriving from Europe and elsewhere. Carmona also talks of colonial oppression by the UK; this is rich coming from a national of a country that massacred its own indigenous population without compunction.

It seems clear that Carmona privately hoped that Scotland would vote in favour of independence on the grounds that a weakened UK would lose influence in world politics and be forced to the negotiating table to agree the transfer of the Falkland Islands to Argentina. Well, the Scots freely decided to remain in the United Kingdom in a vote that has been heralded as a triumph of the democratic process. It is a shame that Argentina that has such a poor record of human rights abuse and economic mismanagement in its past cannot accept the right of the Falkland Islanders to determine their own political future.

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