Argentinean Embassy Press Release
The Latin American Conference, taking place annually, is a large gathering of all British activists supporting Latin American countries. Participants include renowned trade union leaders, journalists, academics and political activists.
Last year saw Argentina participate in this conference for the first time. Previously only Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua had attended the event and been shown solidarity. This year, Ambassador Alicia Castro was invited to attend as a closing speaker. In addition, she gave a speech on the Malvinas alongside Professor Ernesto Laclau, which was coordinated by the Deputy Secretary General of UNITE, the United Kingdom’s biggest trade union. Sitting on the closing panel were labour MP Jeremy Corbyn and two prestigious journalists; Seumas Milne from The Guardian and Owen Jones from The Independent. The meeting’s host was the leader of the teachers’ union.
In an unprecedented display in the United Kingdom, over 500 attendees at the event received Ambassador Alicia Castro’s call for dialogue with warm applause as she closed her speech.
“Malvinas is not a national cause; it is a regional cause, and a global cause. All South American countries reject the existence of this colonial enclave.Argentina and the region also reject the unilateral British activities to explore and exploit natural resources – that belong to the Argentine people – on our continental shelf”.
It´s striking that the UK government, which negotiated with the Military Junta between 1966 and 1982, is unwilling to sit down at the negotiating table and engage in dialogue with the popular and democratic government of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, which is devoted to the principles of truth, peace and social justice (applause).
I shall ask each and every one of you, brothers and sisters,
those who fight for noble causes,
those who are veterans in political and trade union struggles,
those who love and respect the countries and governments of Latin America,
to join our call for dialogue.
We are not asking you to declare that the “Malvinas belong to Argentina”, rather we ask that you speak out to say that no one country is stronger than any other, that the rule of the strong no longer reigns in a multilateral order that recognises all nations as being equal, that you oppose colonialism and imperialism, that we insist that only through dialogue between sovereign nations can we forge a world of equals, a world of Peace.”
In his closing speech, Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn recounted how he had met Alicia Castro many years ago at a trade union rally in London, and that they had kept in touch ever since. “Listen to Alicia – he urged – take note of what she said, because it is very important: we must join her in this call for dialogue. We must also emphasise that, in a world of scarce resources, rather than fighting over them, they must be shared.”