Argentina’s new president has vowed to ‘get the Falklands back’, saying it is ‘non-negotiable’ for Britain to hand them over and compares it to the UK returning Hong Kong to China
The right-wing former ‘tantric sex coach’ who has been elected president of Argentina believes the Falkland Islands belong to his country and has vowed to ‘get them back’.
Javier Milei, who uses a medium to communicate with his dead dog for advice on political matters, caused a huge upset by defeating Argentina’s Economy Minister Sergio Massa in Sunday’s polarized presidential election.
But during his presidential campaign, Milei insisted that Britain’s return of the Falkland Islands was “non-negotiable”, adding that the area, known in Argentina as the Malvinas, is Argentinian.
Milei, a right-wing economist known as ‘el Loco’ – or the Madman – who promised to shake up Argentina with his victory, said he would do “everything in his power” to get the Falkland Islands back – but did not say that he would make war against them.
He insisted that it was “non-negotiable” for Britain to hand over the Falklands to Argentina, compared to Britain handing Hong Kong back to China.
The Falklands were the subject of a brief but brutal war after Argentina invaded in 1982. Britain drove out the invaders after sending a naval armada, but in Buenos Aires the issue was never considered resolved.
But during his presidential campaign, Milei (pictured with a chainsaw) insisted that Britain’s return of the Falkland Islands was “non-negotiable”, adding that the area, known in Argentina as the Malvinas, is Argentinian.
Pictured: British troops patrolling the Falkland Islands last year
Argentina believes the Falklands were illegally taken from the country in 1833 and invaded by the British colony in 1982. Britain sent troops and Argentina lost the two-month war for the archipelago in a conflict that claimed the lives of 649 Argentinians and 255 British soldiers.
Argentina still claims the islands, while Britain says the Falklands are a self-governing entity under its protection. A referendum in 2013 resulted in a 99.8 percent vote to remain British.
Milei stressed during his presidential campaign, in which he used a chainsaw to symbolically reduce the size of the state, that questions about the future of the Falkland Islands ‘cannot be ignored’.
He said, ‘What am I proposing? Argentina’s sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands is non-negotiable. The Malvinas are Argentinians.
‘Now we have to look at how we are going to get them back. It is clear that the war option is not a solution.
‘What we are proposing is to move towards a solution like the one Britain had with China on the Hong Kong issue and that in this context the position of the people living on the islands cannot be ignored.
‘You can’t deny that those people are there. You can’t ignore those people.
‘You have to negotiate with Britain and take into account the views of the people living on the islands.
“We are looking for a solution for the Malvinas Islands to return to Argentina through diplomacy, a solution that is viable, that is feasible.”
Milei has previously praised former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher as one of “the great leaders in human history.”
These comments were condemned by veterans of the Falklands War, as Thatcher remains reviled in Argentina for ordering the sinking of the cruiser General Belgrano, killing 323 people on board during the 1982 war with Britain.
Milei has previously accused the Argentine government of making “a series of mistakes” that have further complicated the situation. In April last year he said that if Argentina wanted the Falkland Islands to become Argentinian, it would mean a “very long negotiation” with Britain.
At the time, he said: “Argentina has never created the conditions under which the inhabitants of the Malvinas Islands want to become Argentinians.
‘So it is an extremely complicated situation, in which Argentina has made all possible mistakes, resulting in a gridlocked and muddy situation. So now it’s a counterfactual scenario because of all the errors. It’s very complicated.’
He added: “If we ever want the islands to return and become part of Argentina, it will mean long, very long negotiations in which Argentina will have to propose something interesting.
Conflict: British troops arrive in the Falkland Islands
Milei, who often dresses up as his superhero alter-ego ‘General AnCap’, which is short for anarcho-capitalist (pictured), made a furious name for himself by denouncing ‘political caste’ in television programs
Argentina’s newly elected president, Javier Milei of La Libertad Avanza, kisses his girlfriend and actress Fatima Florez after the polls closed during the presidential elections on November 19
“And Argentina is not an interesting country if its own people choose to leave the country,” concluded the lawmaker who is now the country’s president-elect.
Diana Mondino, a close adviser to Milei, said in September that the people of the Falklands – 99.8 percent of whom voted to remain British in a 2013 referendum – “cannot be respected”.
Mondino added that Argentina had to “become a normal country” to convince the islanders to seek closer ties.
“How would someone who wasn’t born and raised in Argentina understand (our) inflation?” she said. ‘Why would anyone want to be part of a society? We need to become a normal country, and we are an empty country,” she said.
For Britain’s part, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has ruled out opening new negotiations over the future of the Falklands.
Sunak’s official spokesman said after Milei’s victory: “It’s clearly a resolved issue, a long-settled issue, and we have no plans to look at it again.”
Pressed on suggestions from Mr Milei that a new relationship could be established, similar to that between China and Hong Kong, the Prime Minister’s spokesman added: ‘The position of the Falkland Islands was established some time ago and will not be changed.”
With his victory on Sunday evening, Milei has pushed Argentina into the unknown of how extreme his policies will be.
In a speech after his dramatic victory, he promised that Argentina’s “reconstruction begins today,” adding that he would “drain the swamp,” referring to countering the influence of special interests and lobbyists.
Milei, who often dresses up as his superhero alter-ego “General AnCap,” short for anarcho-capitalist, made his name by angrily denouncing “political caste” on television programs.
His promise for abrupt, serious change resonated with Argentinians tired of annual inflation soaring above 140% and a poverty rate of 40%. He will take power on December 10.
Milei, who is also a prominent economist and radio host, has spoken openly about his preference for threesomes and how he likes to communicate via telepathy with his dead dog for political advice.
He failed to win the first round of voting ahead of the second round of elections, but came second to Massa, largely thanks to the support of young voters so disenchanted with more “conventional” politicians that they have turned to a man whose recent biography was titled El Loco, or The Madman.
A political unknown until a few years ago, Milei was elected to the Argentine Parliament in 2021 as a member of La Libertad Avanza (“Freedom Progress”).
He prefers to call himself an anarcho-capitalist, meaning he wants to rip up as much government intervention as possible and leave it all to the free market.