When Argentina invaded the Falklands Islands in April 1982 and ignited the Falklands War with Great Britain, many commentators saw the conflict as something of a quaint historical anomaly, a “throwback” campaign reminiscent of 19th century “petty scrapes” imperial Britain engaged in when the sun never set on its globe-circling empire.
The war ended on June 14, 1982, making this month the 25th anniversary of its conclusion.
Argentina’s Falklands-Malvinas quest isn’t quite over. In 2006, it began a new diplomatic drive to gain control of the islands. Argentina still bases its claim to the islands on geographic proximity and historical ties, but this time it has enlisted the support of Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Argentina emphasizes that its current efforts to “reclaim” the islands are political, not military.
Not so for Chavez. Never one to shy from inflammatory rhetoric and violent risks, Chavez has added land claims to his list of grievances with neighboring states — and he rattles sabers.
What happens if Chavez calculates that a Bolivar-like “liberation” of the islands from the prison of European colonial oppression would galvanize support for him throughout Latin America?
Outlandish, grandiose and delusional? Twenty-five years ago, Argentina’s dictatorship concluded the risks of outlandish action were worth the grand rewards.
A Second Falklands?