Falkland Islands Want to Stay British

In a vote with zero suspense, the citizens of the Falkland Islands voted overwhelmingly in favor to the question, "Do you wish the Falkland Islands to retain their current political status as an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom?"

Of the roughly 2,800 islanders, roughly 92% of those eligible voted, with eligibility being contingent on being a permanent resident and having spent at least seven years living on the Islands. In total, 1,513 Islanders voted "yes," while only three voted "no." Admittedly, there was an over-the-top demonstration of loyalty to the UK, which one could argue bordered on public pressure for those who voted in Port Stanley. There were, however, election observers from Canada and several Latin American countries, as well as a ridiculous number of journalists when compared to the size of the population.

While the vote has no legal ramifications, it should make it painfully clear that those who live on the Falklands have no desire to become part of Argentina. The South American country’s claim to the islands is based on a tenuous argument 180 years old, yet many of the current citizens of the Falkland Islands can also trace their lineage back to the 19th century, while the majority of Argentina’s residents can trace their ancestry to European immigrants from the late 19th century or early 20th century.

Instead of recognizing the opinion of those on the Falklands, however, Argentina long ago decided to call the vote irrelevant, while at the same time urging Britain to come to the table to talk about the status of the islands.

Talk about what? Argentina wants the Falkland Islands. Britain said it would respect the opinion of the islanders. The referendum made it clear what they want, and yet Argentina will have none of it. Instead, they have tried putting the economic screws to the island, with the Common Southern Market (Mercosur) deciding to block from its ports any ship flying the Falkland Islands flag.

It’s time for Argentina to give up this nonsense. Argentina has its own problems, including rampant inflation (which the country has been blatantly lying about), increasing crime, and worries about corruption. It’s time the country swallows its pride and allows the Falkland Islands to continue as a UK overseas territory, which, as the referendum demonstrates, is the clear choice of its residents.

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Andrew Pasternak

Originally from Baltimore, MD, I graduated from Georgetown University in 2009 with a BA in History and a minor in Government. I recently returned from living in London, United Kingdom, having completed my MA in Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University. While maintaining a deep interest in domestic politics, my main areas of focus are defense, intelligence, and foreign policy.

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