How To Overcome British Bad Faith On Falklands Diplomacy

Argentina must boost its scientific activities in the South Atlantic and maintain diplomatic pressures on Great Britain as part of its efforts to recover the Falklands.

Malvinas Monument in Rio Grande, Argentina
Malvinas Monument in Rio Grande, Argentina
Roberto Garcia Moritan


BUENOS AIRES — The United Kingdom's intransigence over diplomatic negotiations regarding the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and surrounding maritime areas, is blocking the United Nations' repeated efforts to conclude this dispute over sovereignty.

The UN's Special Committee on Decolonization (C-24), which includes 29 states, has passed a resolution (proposed by all Latin American Committee members), which alongside more than 40 similar UN decisions, urges Argentina and Britain to conclude a decolonization process pending since 1833. The Special Committee has helped resolve 80 cases involving ex-colonies and 11 dependencies, and has 17 colonial questions left on its agenda.

This year, for the pandemic, the president of the C-24 replaced its meeting with a written resolution, with no objections or requests for a physical meeting —not even the United Kingdom, an observer at the Committee, or members from the British Commonwealth, voiced objection. There were no negative reactions or alternative texts to the one adopted unanimously. Yet in spite of the apparent consensus, London keeps ignoring the UN's mandate, as happens with other decolonization dossiers like the Chagos Islands or Gibraltar.

Britain's attitude exposes the limitations of multilateral diplomacy.

The United Kingdom's inaction shows disdain for the UN, which is disconcerting given its permanent membership on the Security Council. It conveys an attitude of abuse of power, and subjects UN resolutions to the dictates of politics and force. It is the type of conduct that hurts the principle of equality among nations and jeopardizes peace and international security.

More broadly, Britain's attitude exposes the limitations of multilateral diplomacy, and reveals the C-24's resolution of political support to be insufficient.

One should consider the question from a wider, strategic and geopolitical perspective, and measures being approved by the Argentine Congress are a good step in that direction. The country must also boost its presence across the continental platform and maritime areas of the South Atlantic, in particular with regards fishing and oceanographic research into the Atlantic ecosystem.

Argentina should come to see scientific knowledge as a pillar and instrument of power, and especially amplify its effective capacity to administer the 1.7 million square kilometers now added to the existing Exclusive Economic Zone. Sovereignty in knowledge must become another standard of our diplomacy to recover the Falklands and affirm our presence.

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In Argentina, A Visit To World's Highest Solar Energy Park

With loans and solar panels from China, the massive solar park has been opened a year and is already powering the surrounding areas. Now the Chinese supplier is pushing for an expansion.

960,000 solar panels have been installed at the Cauchari park

Silvia Naishtat

— Driving across the border with Chile into the northwest Argentine department of Susques, you may spot what looks like a black mass in the distance. Arriving at a 4,000-meter altitude in the municipality of Cauchari, what comes into view instead is an assembly of 960,000 solar panels. It is the world's highest photovoltaic (PV) park, which is also the second biggest solar energy facility in Latin America, after Mexico's Aguascalientes plant.

Spread over 800 hectares in an arid landscape, the Cauchari park has been operating for a year, and has so far turned sunshine into 315 megawatts of electricity, enough to power the local provincial capital of Jujuy through the national grid.

It has also generated some $50 million for the province, which Governor Gerardo Morales has allocated to building 239 schools.

Abundant sunshine, low temperatures

The physicist Martín Albornoz says Cauchari, which means "link to the sun," is exposed to the best solar radiation anywhere. The area has 260 days of sunshine, with no smog and relatively low temperatures, which helps keep the panels in optimal conditions.

Its construction began with a loan of more than $331 million from China's Eximbank, which allowed the purchase of panels made in Shanghai. They arrived in Buenos Aires in 2,500 containers and were later trucked a considerable distance to the site in Cauchari . This was a titanic project that required 1,200 builders and 10-ton cranes, but will save some 780,000 tons of CO2 emissions a year.

It is now run by 60 technicians. Its panels, with a 25-year guarantee, follow the sun's path and are cleaned twice a year. The plant is expected to have a service life of 40 years. Its choice of location was based on power lines traced in the 1990s to export power to Chile, now fed by the park.

Chinese engineers working in an office at the Cauchari park


Chinese want to expand

The plant belongs to the public-sector firm Jemse (Jujuy Energía y Minería), created in 2011 by the province's then governor Eduardo Fellner. Jemse's president, Felipe Albornoz, says that once Chinese credits are repaid in 20 years, Cauchari will earn the province $600 million.

The Argentine Energy ministry must now decide on the park's proposed expansion. The Chinese would pay in $200 million, which will help install 400,000 additional panels and generate enough power for the entire province of Jujuy.

The park's CEO, Guillermo Hoerth, observes that state policies are key to turning Jujuy into a green province. "We must change the production model. The world is rapidly cutting fossil fuel emissions. This is a great opportunity," Hoerth says.

The province's energy chief, Mario Pizarro, says in turn that Susques and three other provincial districts are already self-sufficient with clean energy, and three other districts would soon follow.

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