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Argentina Prepares to Remember the Victims of the Falklands War

[All links lead to Spanish sites unless otherwise stated.]

Malvinas Day is celebrated each year in Argentina on April 2, and with each anniversary the desire to recover what was lost in 1982 resurfaces. And this year will not go unnoticed; after the various statements [en] made by President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner regarding the diplomatic conflict with the United Kingdom, nationalist attitudes are reemerging in Argentine society.

ArturoDiazF‘s blog briefly sums up the national sentiment:

Personalmente creo que la apelación al nacionalismo siempre ha sido la excusa perfecta para cohesionar a una nación. Reavivar el asunto de Las Malvinas es el caballito de batalla para distraer a la opinión pública sobre la situación económica en Argentina

Personally I think that nationalism has always been the perfect excuse to unite a country. The revival of the Falklands issue is the point of contention that will distract the public from the economic situation in Argentina.

Various events have taken place in the last few weeks: President Cristina Fernández's visit to Chile, Unasur's rejection of hydrocarbon exploration in the Falkland Islands, and the possible recommencement of flights from Argentina to the Islands. But what do the Falkland Islanders think about the situation?

Replica of the Malvinas Cemetary, photo by Alejandro Gómez (CC BY 2.0)

John Fowler [en], editor of Penguin News, a newspaper produced on the Islands, sums up the attitudes of the Kelpers [en] (inhabitants of the Falklands):

I think we would like to see the “sovereignty umbrella” hoisted again so that issues of shared concern like fish stocks and hydrocarbon exploration can be discussed to our mutual benefit without prejudice and we would also really like the Argentine government, as they once promised, to stop using the name Puerto Argentino to identify our capital, Stanley.  Unlike Malvinas which is a name with historical authenticity, used in a more or less neutral sense throughout the Spanish-speaking world, Puerto Argentino remains as an unpleasant reminder of an even more unpleasant time and its continued use thirty years later is an insult.

On the other hand the Peruvian government announced its decision to cancel the previously agreed routine visit of a British frigate, according to Telam, the Argentine national news agency:

Esta decisión ha sido adoptada en el espíritu de los compromisos de solidaridad latinoamericana asumidos en el marco de la Unasur respecto de los legítimos derechos de la República Argentina en la disputa de soberanía sobre las islas Malvinas, Georgias del Sur y Sandwich del Sur y los espacios marítimos circundantes”, explicó el canciller, Rafael Roncagliolo, en una breve declaración a la agencia noticiosa estatal Andina

“This decision has been taken in the spirit of Latin American solidarity commitments undertaken in the framework of Unasur (Union of South American Nations) with regard to the legitimate rights of Argentina in the sovereignty dispute over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and the surrounding waters,” Foreign Affairs Minister Rafael Roncagliolo said in a brief statement to Peruvian news agency Andina.

The British government's swift response was one of disappointment, according to the newspaper La Nación:

El Gobierno británico lamentó hoy la decisión de Perú de solidarizarse con Argentina en la disputa de las islas Malvinas y cancelar la visita prevista al puerto del Callao de la fragata “HMS Montrose” del Reino Unido.

The British government regrets today's decision made by Peru to support Argentina in the dispute over the Falkland Islands and cancel HMS Montrose's planned visit to Callao from the United Kingdom.

As April 2 approaches, the “Malvinas” or “Falklands” question will have both national and international impact, with many opposing views. Diego Vera (@dverasm), from Chile, tweets:

Me cuesta entender el apoyo de nuestro Presidente @sebastianpinera a las demagógicas pretensiones argentinas sobre las #falklands.

I struggle to understand the support of our President @sebastianpinera for the demagogic Argentine desires for the #falklands.

In turn, the Islanders also shared their opinions regarding the recommencement of flights from Argentina to the Islands. Falkland Islands (@falklands_utd) [en] said on Twitter:

We would rather swim than have flights controlled by you! Leave us alone! @CFKArgentina http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews… #falklands #british #freedom

Seba Zurutuza (@sebaZ3), a legislative consultant, also commented on Twitter about the U.S.'s stance on the Falklands issue:

Cuanta ingenuidad (?) en la dirigencia oficial y opositora: siguen pensando q EEUU va a ayudar

How naive (?) is the leadership: they still think the U.S. is going to help.

In a reader's letter to the editor of the newspaper Informador Público, Luis E. Luchía-Puig suggests a strategy of seduction towards the Falklands issue:

Todavía hará falta mucho tiempo para que se cicatricen las heridas de una guerra inútil que ocurrió hace tres décadas. Pero el sentido común señala que, para lograr ese objetivo, es mejor seducir que hostigar. Promover políticas de pacífica convivencia y facilitar las oportunidades de contacto. Si en el futuro los isleños perciben que vivir en un territorio gobernado por nuestro país, es más confiable y ventajoso que depender de una metrópoli a una distancia de 15.000 kilómetros, no pondrían objeciones al cambio de soberanía y volveríamos a ver flamear la celeste y blanca en esa patria todavía irredenta.

We will be waiting for a long time for the wounds to heal from the useless war that happened 30 years ago. But the common sentiment shows that in order to accomplish this objective, it's better to seduce than to harass; promoting politics of peaceful coexistence and facilitating opportunities for contact. If, in the future, the Islanders think that living in a territory governed by our country would be more reliable and advantageous for them than depending on a mother country over 9,000 miles away, they wouldn't object to a change of sovereignty an we would once again see the sky ablaze over this still unredeemed territory.

In between approaches, solutions, opinions and disagreements, perhaps a proposal could serve as a common base so that the parties involved could come to a solution. Or maybe, as @DVDinsaurralde suggests, an agreement could be reached through sport:‏

I believe the future of #Malvinas#Falkland should be decided in a football match

Meanwhile, the April 2 is getting ever closer; a day not only to remember the past, but also to analyse the current situation in the Falklands.

2 comments

  • […] Argentina Prepares to Remember the Victims of the Falklands War, Laura Schneider, English translation by Georgi McCarthy (Español aquí): Malvinas Day is celebrated each year in Argentina on April 2. Given the current diplomatic conflict with the United Kingdom, the date is especially important this year. This is an update of opinions and reactions to the conflict. – En Argentina cada 2 de abril se conmemora el Día del Veterano y de los Caídos en la Guerra de Malvinas. Dado el actual conflicto diplomático con el Reino Unido, este año la fecha no pasará desapercibida. A continuación actualizamos las opiniones y reacciones a este conflicto. […]

  • […] I think that nationalism has always been the perfect excuse to unite a country. Read more on Global Voices Online About Us […]

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