Milei promises plan to recover Malvinas in Veterans’ Day address

In jab at Argentina’s human rights movement, the president called for ‘era of reconciliation’ with the armed forces

President Javier Milei vowed Tuesday to design a “clear road map so that the Malvinas Islands can be Argentine again” during a speech to commemorate the 649 Argentine soldiers fallen in the 1982 Malvinas War and honor the war veterans.

He also called for “a new era of reconciliation with the armed forces” after years of “harassment and humiliation” from past administrations — an implicit criticism of the Argentine judiciary and human rights movement’s work to convict members of the military who committed crimes against humanity during the 1976-1982 dictatorship.

“After decades, we are the first administration to take responsibility for this and [the first] that has a clear path to becoming a prosperous, sovereign country,” Milei said during his speech for the Day of the Malvinas War Veterans and Fallen.

The homage commemorates the start of the Malvinas War against the British occupation of the islands on April 2, 1982. The president did not mention that the war was started by the dictatorship.

“The best homage to those who gave their lives for our country is to defend our unwavering claim to Argentine sovereignty over the Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime areas,” Milei said in San Martín Square, at the monument to the 649 Argentine soldiers who died during the war.

The president said that for a country to be respected by other nations, it needs to be “a protagonist in the international trade market” and “needs a military capable of defending its territory.” 

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Sovereignty and international esteem, he said, are impossible if politicians “go out of their way to smear our armed forces.” 

In comments that seemed to call for an end to the critical examination of Argentina’s military for dictatorship-era abuses, he continued: “that time is over. In this new Argentina, you will have the respect that you have been denied for a long time.”

Milei and Vice President Victoria Villarruel, who attended the homage with other government officials, are known for their apologist stances on the state terrorism carried out between 1976 and 1983. Before she went into politics, Villarruel was known chiefly as a campaigner for impunity for military officers who have been tried or convicted of these crimes.

After the homage, Villarruel told the press that “it’s time for the United Kingdom to sit down and negotiate with Argentina” over the Malvinas sovereignty. 

Editorial disclaimer

Although the UK refers to the Malvinas territory as the “Falklands Islands,” Argentina strongly contests this name. The Buenos Aires Herald refers to the islands as the Malvinas Islands.


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