40 years have passed since June 14, 1982the day of the Argentine surrender, which marked the end of the Falklands War. The commander of the Malvinas military garrison, Brigadier General Mario Benjamin Menendezsigned an act with the commander of the British forces, General Jeremy Moore, to agree on the ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Argentine troops.
During the night of June 13 there was fighting between the British forces, who attacked with infantry and artillery to seize Mount Thumbledown and Wireless Ridge, strategic points just four kilometers west of Argentine Port.
The next morning, June 14, the English forces defeated the Argentine troops who were stationed in those places and managed to advance. In the afternoon, they entered the capital of the Malvinas Islands and agreed to a meeting with Brigadier General Mario Benjamín Menéndez for 4:00 p.m., which was later postponed to 7:00 p.m.
In the surrender document -signed at 11:59 p.m. on June 14- it was agreed that the surrender ceremony would be private and the Argentine forces would keep their flags. In addition, the units were left in charge of their officers, who were allowed to keep their sidearms. Y 4,167 Argentine prisoners were repatriated on the transatlantic Canberra.
The progress of the surrender was reported through nine communiqués of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with numbers 158 to 166. They were broadcast on June 14, 15 and 16, 1982 on Radio Nacional, Argentina Televisora Color (ATC) and all the stations that are members of the radio and television network, from the Government House, and closely followed by millions of Argentines.
The Malvinas War: the claims on the Argentine islands
Argentina had been making claims through diplomatic channels for the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands, based on historical and geographical reasons in order to recover them after they had been occupied since 1833 by the British crown. However, the military dictatorship initiated a plan to recover them through force, by which the government invaded and occupied their territories. April 2, 1982.
The archipelago formed by the Soledad and Gran Malvina islands plus another 200 smaller islands is located in the South Atlantic and is part of the territories considered “non-autonomous” by the United Nations. That international entity recognizes the Argentine claims and understands the United Kingdom as the “administrator” of the territories.
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The islands are located 464 kilometers from the mainland, on the Patagonian continental shelf. They were part of the Spanish colonies and their sovereignty was declared Argentine after the independence of July 9, 1816. Even in the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1825, England accepts Argentine national sovereignty.
In 1820, the government of the Province of Buenos Aires sent a frigate to take possession and reaffirm its rights over the islands. And in 1829 he created the Political and Military Command of the Malvinas Islands.
The Falklands War: the numbers of pain
The cold numbers shudder, 40 years after the end of the war: 649 Argentine soldiers, 255 British and three island civilians died during the 74 days of the military conflict. However, the Malvinas ex-combatants associations report that at least 300 other Argentine soldiers committed suicide in the last four decades. More than 23,200 Argentine soldiers participated in the war, of which some 1,200 were wounded.
219 aircraft and 15 ships were deployed by the national forces, to face the most powerful naval force since World War II. Thus, the balance was tremendous for Argentina: the Aeronautics counted 60 downed aircraft and the Navy suffered the sinking of three vessels.
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The sinking of the cruiser ARA General Belgrano was the sad episode that added the greatest number of victims, since of the 1,093 crew members, 323 lost their lives: 321 soldiers and two civilians. The Falklands heroes, for their part, shot down 11 British planes and sank 7 ships.