A British veteran of the Malvinas (Falklands) War has sent a letter to President Mauricio Macri, asking that Argentine soldiers who served on mainland military bases during the 1982 conflict be officially recognised as "former combatants."
The Malvinas War began on April 2, 1982 when Argentina's military forces launched an invasion of the islands. The undeclared war lasted approximately 10 weeks until June 14, 1982 when British forces retook the islands and Argentine forces surrendered.
British veteran Edward Denmark was responsible for shooting down Argentine aircraft during the conflict. Now terminally ill with leukaemia and, unable to travel to deliver the message himself, he has sent a letter and accompanying video explaining his request to President Macri via an Argentine friend and fellow Malvinas veteran, Julio Herrera Vidal, who fought on the other side of the conflict.
The Argentine national, in turn, has delivered the letter to retired Argentine soldiers Óscar González and Javier Robledo, who will try to deliver the letter to Macri.
In the letter, Denmark remarked that “unfortunately, there is still a great injustice in that the [Argentine] soldiers of the mainland bases are not recognised for their important contribution to the war effort.”
In the video, he highlighted the recognition received by British soldiers who were stationed on a base 8,000 nautical miles away from the Malvinas Islands, who provided food, weapons, and ammunition to the British combatants. Denmark says he regrets that the same hasn't been done for the Argentine soldiers who also provided provisions to their combatant counterparts.
“The British Air Force needed supplies and support of all kinds to support the war machine at all times. I fired at their [the Argentines’] planes with a missile launcher or rifle. But the missiles we loaded, the ammunition and food, the batteries and other supplies to fight the war were provided to us from Ascension Island, located 8,000 nautical miles away. And if we hadn't had those soldiers providing us with the supplies we needed, I don’t know what would have happened,” said the British veteran.
Ascension Island is a British territory in the Atlantic Ocean about 2,250 kilometres off the coast of Brazil and just south of the Equator.
He continued: “Those soldiers of Ascension Island were recognised by the British government for the contribution they made and for the fact that they kept us going. However, the Argentine soldiers that were 400 miles away and under threat of invasion, landing, and God knows what else, received no recognition.”
Denmark compared both situations and remarked that “with all due respect that they deserve, the Ascension Island soldiers were not under threat of air attack or possible landings and yet they received their medals and their recognitions the same [as combatants].”
He claimed that he and the veterans of the war, on both sides, “are getting older and have less every day” and asking Macri to “address this injustice now” and not let it go down in history as a “shameful oversight.”
“Through cancer, my candle goes out and it is my ambition to see these men officially recognized by their great country,” he finished.