Falklands : F I Chamber of Commerce Reacts to Argentine Ban of Chilean Products to the Falklands
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 20.07.2010 (Article Archived on 03.08.2010)
The Board Members of the Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce are in sympathy with merchantserchants of Punta Arenas, Chile who have lost millions due to the Argentine ban on international trade through the Straits of Magellan headed towards the Falklands.
F I Chamber of Commerce Reacts to Argentine Ban of Chilean Products to the Falklands
The Falkland Islands Chamber of Commerce Council believes as a direct result of the Argentine Decree it would appear our suppliers of goods and services in Chile will lose a considerable amount of business several million pounds worth. This will significantly impact Punta Arenas traders and service providers to a far greater extent than on Falkland businesses. Many Falkland businesses have already taken steps to obtain alternative sources of supply from the UK. This is regrettable because good and long standing trading relationships have built up and matured since 1982. Many Magallanes businesses are cutting back after losing trade with the Falklands due to the decree and they and their employees must feel penalised by their neighbours.
The action by the Argentine government follows on from various other steps they have taken which are designed to disrupt the economy of the Falklands and is part of an orchestrated campaign to achieve by so called peaceful means what they failed to achieve by military means in 1982. It clearly demonstrates that they do not have the interests of the Falkland Islanders at heart but are intent on pursuing their history of territorial expansionism in the region. This aggressive bullying of 3000 people by a nation of 40 million shows the Argentine Republic has no respect whatsoever for the Human Rights of the Falkland Islanders or the people of Punta Arenas while at the same time Argentina cynically promotes its commitment to Human Rights on the world stage
The Falklands Chamber of Commerce is very disappointed that we have not seen a higher level of support for the Falklands from the world in response to what is in effect a sea-blockade of the civilian population here (who happen to be EEC citizens)! This contrasts with the strong support for the citizens of the Gaza strip and Berlin who also have had to withstand blockades by large powerful neighbours.
On 6th April 2010 Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant MP told the House of Commons that he had "conversations with the Argentine Foreign Secretary during the inauguration of the new President of Chile in Santiago a couple of weeks ago, and it is very clear from those conversations that the Argentines have no intention of blockading the Falklands"
For Falkland businesses it is clear that the Argentines have every intention of economically blockading the Falklands.
The closure and control by Argentina of an internationally agreed sea route to vessels of all nationalities coming to or leaving the Falklands and South Georgia is of justifiable concern, not only to us here who have to put up with continued and aggressive Argentine harassment, but also we assume the British Government is getting weary of this nonsense too.
Sea-blockading the Falkland Islands and trying to bully its small population into instant submission, will harden the stance of everyone living here towards our neighbour. There is no doubt the continuing blatant acts of Argentine aggression and harassment towards us will adversely affect south-west Atlantic relations for a great many more decades than those which have passed since 1982. and will stiffen our resolve not to become subservient to a nation run by politicians not elected by the people living in the Falklands who are determined to ride roughshod over us.
If we move into production of oil in our waters we trust our elected leaders will remember who our friends are and those who supported us when confronted by this oppressive action of Argentina.
If Falkland Islands businesses are not allowed to naturally grow and prosper, this will slowly impact on the vitality of the Falklands economy. The much touted Economic Development Strategy could quickly become a worthless document, unless The Falkland Islands Government shows that it is making all efforts to robustly defend us and seek from the British Government that it has a firm hand on the tiller of South Atlantic diplomacy.
Blockading and bullying the population of the Falklands has merely alienated Argentina to the younger members of our population and demonstrated to them and the younger generation in Chile who may have relatives in the Falklands that the Argentina of today is no different to that of 1982. Argentina’s Governments actions appear to be motivated by spite alone, having killed any hope of progress towards their supposed goal