The most hotly-contested piece of land in the world has just discovered oil.
British oil and gas exploration company Desire Petroleum started drilling today 60 miles off coast of the Falkland Islands. The South Atlantic territory may contain 3.5 billion barrels of oil and significant quantities of natural gas, according to CNN.
But the enterprise risks reigniting a sovereign ity dispute between Argentina and the UK, which led to a two-month war in 1982.
Although the islands are occupied by British troops and pay tribute to the Queen, they are self-governed and self-supporting.
President Cristina Fernandez has ruled out any military action to stop the drilling, according to the AP. However, she is leading a diplomatic campaign that may face the emergent powers of Latin America against the lame duck empire.
Argentina has unilateral regional support in its claim to the islands, including the vociferous backing of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
“The British are desperate for oil since their own fields in the North Sea are now being depleted,” Chavez said in a televised speech. When will England stop breaking international law? Return the Malvinas to Argentina!”
“The English are desperate, the Yankees are desperate and here we have the biggest petroleum reserves in the world,” Chavez said.
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