Malvinas in Retrospect | Sojourners

Malvinas in Retrospect

The Argentine takeover of the Malvinas (the Falkland Islands), April 2,1982, will go down in history as an event of unsuspected importance for world politics in this last quarter of the 20th century. The presence of Argentine Foreign Minister Nicanor Costa Mendez at the meeting of the Movement of Non-aligned Countries held in Havana, Cuba, in June is in harmony with a whole series of changes that the unexpected war between Argentina and Great Britain produced in the field of international relations.

Who could have imagined on April 2 that a government regarded as Reagan's ideal ally in his fight against subversion in Central America would soon be supported by Cuban communists and Nicaraguan Sandinistas? Who could have thought that the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Help--an instrument created by the United States to repel any Soviet intervention in Latin America--would be invoked by most Latin American countries against Washington's alignment with Great Britain? Who would have believed that the Exocet, a very modern weapon made in Europe, would be tried for the first time in a war between "free world" countries, and that the European Economic Community would punish one of its closest ideological allies, forcing it to strengthen its ties with the Soviet Union?

Quite clearly, with this recent conflict, War (with a capital W) has disembarked on our coast and destroyed the dream of Latin America as "denuclearized territory." When the Treaty of Tlatelolco (which forbids testing, using, producing, and buying nuclear armament) was signed, it was never thought that an extra-continental power which had signed the treaty, Great Britain, would in fact transport nuclear armament in aggression against another (provisional) signatory, Argentina. Now that the treaty has been violated, with consent on the part of the United States, who can stop countries such as Brazil and Argentina in their effort to produce the atomic bomb?

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