By Nathália Urban
Argentina’s ambassador to Brazil, Daniel Scioli, has expressed his concern at a significant increase in British military flights stopping in Brazilian territory, on their way to the Falklands Islands / Malvinas.
In a diplomatic document delivered to Pedro Miguel Costa e Silva, Secretary of Bilateral and Regional Negotiations for the Americas, the Buenos Aires government was surprised and peturbed that seven military flights were registered in the first month of 2022.
The Argentine government detected that between the 4th and 28th of January there was an unusual traffic of seven military aircraft of the Royal Air Force, the British air force, connecting the islands to Brazil. The planes departed from Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Porto Alegre, and five of those seven flights were round trips.
Scioli says that “these flights constitute an additional manifestation of the illegitimate UK military presence in the South Atlantic, which has been described by Mercosur member and associate states as contrary to the regional policy of seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict”.
According to the Argentinian government , seven British military flights have flown from Brazil to the Falkland Islands and back so far in 2022. The British military units have reportedly stopped over at Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Recife on January 9, 14, 15, 22, 24, 26 and 28. In a justification for the increase in flights to the Falkland Islands, the RAF remarks that these operations are due to the beginning of the Antarctic campaign.
In the diplomatic note the Argentine embassy thanked the Brazilian government for its ”traditional and constant support for the legitimate Argentine rights over the Malvinas, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding maritime spaces.“
But since the coup that removed Dilma Rousseff from power, the Brazilian government has been willing in support the British colonial claim over the islands, in 2017, Former Argentine ambassador to the United Kingdom, Alicia Castro, and national deputy Guillermo Carmona denounce that Michel Temer’s government allowed British warplanes to land in Brazil for refuelling before continuing flights to the Falkland Islands, which violates the existing agreement with Argentina.
Carmona released a confidential document in which the Argentine air control authority records a significant increase in flights from the Falklands to the United Kingdom and vice versa, with stops in Brazil at three airports: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Porto Alegre. “Brazil supplies and provides logistics for British military flights”, says the document.
“Temer, in times of peace, is doing what Pinochet did in times of war. Offer logistics, offer airport structure with the silence of the Argentine government”, said the politician.
Since 1833, when Brazil was still an empire, the country has supported the Argentine claim to the islands. in 1982, during the Falklands War, Brazil did not stop giving political support to Argentina, even so far as interning an RAF Vulcan bomber aircraft at Rio’s Galeão Airport. Yet Brazil did not get directly involved in the conflict, and was effectively responsible for Argentine interests in London.
However, during the PT administrations that prioritised Latin American integration, both Lula and Dilma took action to support their southern neighbours.
In early 2012, Brazil sparked surprise by announcing, along with the other Mercosur countries, that it would close its ports to ships flying the “Falkland Islands flag”, endorsing a request by then Argentine President Cristina Kirchner. The decision was strongly criticised by the British government.