Skip to comments.Chile re-opens base and reaffirms rights over Antarctica
Posted on 03/17/2008 5:25:11 PM PDT by BGHater
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet officially re-opened on Wednesday the Arturo Prat base in Antarctica which was the first to be established by the Chilean Navy in 1947 but was later closed in 2004.
The event was described in Chile as a reaffirmation of the countrys rights over Antarctica.
The eleven permanent members of the base, which is being refurbished --and eleven degrees below zero--, received President Bachelet, Defence minister Jose Goñi and the Commander of the Navy Admiral Rodolfo Codina.
This base is going to guarantee Chilean rights and territorial integrity, which is undoubtedly the duty of the Armed Forces, said Ms Bachelet.
However our presence is to comply with the Antarctic Treaty, to comply with Chiles defense duties and obviously with our commitment to science and research, added the Chilean president.
The base will be jointly managed by the Chilean Navy, Antarctic Institute and the Magallanes Region. All flights to Antarctica from Chile take off from Punta Arenas in Magallanes.
The Chilean president is no stranger to Antarctica since as former Defence minister on several occasions she visited other Chilean bases, Eduardo Frei, managed by the Chilean Air Force and Bernardo OHiggins belonging to the Army.
Arturo Prat base was closed in 2004 when the Chilean Navy was involved in the renewal of its surface fleet which included the purchase of new and second hand frigates from the Royal Navy and the Dutch navy.
The base will also be equipped with a multipurpose laboratory for research in different scientific fields plus a museum, partly financed by Magallanes Region that will recollect Chiles long links and involvement with Antarctica.
According to the Chilean press quoting Executive sources the reopening of the base is intended to send a strong international message regarding the countrys claims over the frozen continent plus ensuring peace and cooperation among members of the Antarctic Treaty.
The idea of reopening the Navys base begun to be considered by Chilean authorities in April 2007, which was later discussed in the 2008 Budget Bill when the Defence ministry offered to include funds for such an operation.
The Chilean Armed Forces under a special law dating back several decades are entitled to a percentage of copper windfall prices from government owned mining companies for the purchase of military equipment.
The final leg of the process coincided with the controversy triggered when Britain announced claims regarding offshore Antarctica sea bed rights.
Chile can have Antarctica...until WE decide we want it.
I thought no one had territorial claims there. It was open to all.
This seems a little strange. Sort of like the ruskies in the Arctic.
Reread the last line. Chili and Britain are making counter claims on offshore drilling rights.
This is part of the Law of the Sea Treaty.
That is to be expected... with the Argentine Navy being so victorious over those nasty Brits!
Cool, where are the German secret UFO bases?
err...thats Nazi secret UFO bases.
And assuming no other nation is prepared to deny it to you using modern weaponry. Antarctica seems a site where several rivals would be prepared to threaten and possibly use nukes to preserve their interests. And there's little anyone can do about that. The shield is a good idea, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it...