Argentina Appoints Member of Falklands Occupation Force as New Army Chief


Argentina has appointed a general who served in the occupying forces during the Falklands War as its new army chief.

Ricardo Luis Cundom was chosen by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as a replacement for General César Milani who stood down earlier this week following accusations of human rights abuses.

Milani has been charged in connection with the disappearance of soldier Alberto Ledo in 1976 in the province of Tucuman and with torturing two people in the province of La Rioja.

Milani denies the accusations and insisted he was standing down for purely personal reasons.

The website Clarín says that Cundom piloted a Bell UH-1H AE-412 helicopter during the Falklands War. He was stationed in occupied Port Stanley, the territory’s capital, when a mortar hit his aircraft near the fuel containers just after he had landed. Remarkably, he made it out alive even though another helicopter was completely destroyed.

Diplomatic tensions have increased over recent years, with President Kirchner adopting a tougher line over the islands that are owned by Britain but claimed by Argentina. The Falklands War took place in 1982 when Argentina launched a military invasion of the territory but was eventually expelled by Britain two months later.

Since the discovery of potential oil wells around the islands, Argentina has renewed pressure on Britain, but the British government remains committed to keeping the islands and has refused to negotiate.

A 2013 referendum saw 99.8 per cent of islanders vote to remain British on a turnout of 91.49 per cent, one of the biggest landslide results in electoral history.