192 years ago, on June 10, 1829, the national government created the Political and Military Command of the Malvinas Islands and the Adjacencies to Cape Horn in the Atlantic Sea and named Luis Vernet as its commander.
Since the May Revolution of 1810, almost two decades of continuous and progressive acts had passed in the exercise of sovereignty over those territories and Argentina decided to give Malvinas and its surroundings an administrative framework commensurate with its importance.
The creation by decree of the Command was the logical consequence of a constant development advanced by names such as Jorge Pacheco, Pablo Areguatí -first Argentine governor of the Malvinas Islands- and Luis Vernet.
The way in which the Argentine sovereignty titles over the Malvinas Islands are based there is of implacable precision. The decree establishes the unquestionable Spanish sovereignty and possession of the Falkland Islands at the date of the Argentine emancipatory movement and details the Spanish sovereignty titles.
With total clarity, it also indicates that Argentina is the heir to Spain over the old territories of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata and that it succeeded it as the legitimate sovereign of the Islands as of May 25, 1810, according to a well-established principle of the International right.
Finally, it mentions the “acts of dominion over said Islands, their ports and coasts”, in clear reference to the sovereign acts carried out by the Republic, which shows that it was already in possession of the territory at the time of creation. of the Command.
These arguments, from almost two centuries ago, have not changed a comma until today. This proves the solidity and coherence of the Argentine position, in contrast to the British one, which to justify its colonialism has been constantly changing until today, when it incorrectly appeals to the supposed right of self-determination to avoid any negotiation with Argentina. The decree of 1829 highlights this action of the United Kingdom and its palpable legal weakness.
Thus, five months after the creation of the Command and the appointment of Luis Vernet as first commander, the United Kingdom revived its abandoned claim to the Falkland Islands.
55 years had passed since the abandonment of the establishment built – secretly, in bad faith and contrary to the treaties of the time – in Puerto de la Crusade on Trinidad Island, a small island in the Greater Malvina.
After more than half a century of complete silence in the face of countless acts of sovereignty carried out, first by Spain, and later by Argentina, the British representative in Buenos Aires made a belated, limited and bad faith protest against the national decree . The government of Buenos Aires, with surprise, acknowledged receipt of the note (repeated only three years later) and continued with its sovereign policy over the Islands.
But the fundamental importance of the decree of 1829 lies in its effects on the real development of the Islands under full Argentine sovereignty.
Until then, the Falklands had never enjoyed such human development. The islands had, until the British usurpation in 1833, a stable population of one hundred and a half people (up to 300 inhabited it at some point).
The national government founded several estancias and two smaller towns. Sheep were introduced and existing cattle and horses were improved. Contacts with the native population of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego were favored, and Puerto Soledad became a point of extreme importance for sailors who passed from the Atlantic to the Pacific and vice versa.
Countless are the acts carried out by Vernet as commander of the Falklands. It applied national legislation on the conservation of living resources, advanced for its time; carried out criminal proceedings; performed the first civil marriages in Argentine territory in all national history; issued currency; it granted land concessions and was a pioneer in promoting American and European immigration, among many other actions.
The diaries of his wife, María Sáez, and of his brother, Emilio, bear witness to the celebration of national national holidays by the population – even of another nationality – and full respect for the laws of the Republic.
They also give an account of the first birth registered in the islands under the sovereignty of a State, precisely that of the daughter of Luis and María, who was born on February 5, 1830 and bore the name of Matilde Vernet y Sáez, although she was known as Malvina Vernet.
The Argentine government had created an administrative territorial unit in 1829 that included the Malvinas, Tierra del Fuego and adjacent islands. Understanding the importance of the Islands, he put the Malvinas as the center of that unit. The young nation had a development plan for its southern territory and the British dispossession of 1833 prevented it from being able to carry it out for much of the 19th century.
It was that Argentina that produced a peaceful, sustainable, useful and forward-looking human development, which demonstrated the importance of the Islands, unlike the European powers that only considered Malvinas from their territorial ambition. And it was the British Empire, with its political, military and economic supremacy, that took advantage of this immense effort by force, and illegally.
Facundo Rodríguez is a lawyer and professor in international law (UBA-UP). Co-author of the book “The Malvinas between Law and History” (EUDEBA)