Dr. Steve Hanke of the CATO Institute has proposed a novel solution to resolve the ongoing dispute between the United Kingdom and the 35 member nations of the Organization of American States over decolonization of the Malvinas Islands.
Under the proposal, Argentina would agree to a binding plebiscite to decide the question of sovereignty of the disputed south Atlantic islands. Prior to such a referendum, Argentina would deposit $1.6 billion into escrow. Should residents of the Malvinas vote to remain under British control, the money would be returned to Argentina. However, should they vote to re-integrate with Argentina, the monies in escrow would be paid out to every islander (approximately $500,000 per person – $2 million for a family of four).
At first glance, it would seem likely that such a proposal would be a win-win-win for all parties. The amount of escrow should be manageable for Argentina if even a portion of the 60 billion barrels of oil estimated to be in the Malvinas Exclusive Economic Zone could be extracted. Residents of the Malvinas would realize far greater economic benefit from a one-time pay-out of $500,000 than they would in a lifetime of squid fishing and sheep farming. And Britain, which claims her only interest in the Malvinas is the right of self-determination of the inhabitants, would be liberated from her obligations to a small, remnant population.
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