‘Las Malvinas Son Argentinas': Who Taught You That?

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Malvinas propaganda on the streets of Buenos Aires (Photo: Beatrice Murch)

Thirty years after the Falklands/Malvinas war, its memory lives on in the echoes of the veterans’ protests and in thousands of posters plastered on almost every Buenos Aires’ wall. Claims for the ownership of the islands and foul-mouthed graffiti directed towards the English and sprayed across walls in Buenos Aires -in a language that seems right out of a football pitch- make the national discourse clear.

The debate about the islands’ sovereignty is not only a political one, but also a discussion about Argentina’s own identity, of which the lost islands have become a potent metaphor throughout the years.

“Malvinas […] is a way to ask ourselves what kind of country wants to be the one that would eventually retrieve the islands and welcome its inhabitants,” once wrote Federico Lorenz, historian and author of the book ‘Las Guerras Por Malvinas, 1982-2012′.

Much has been written about the diplomatic controversy between Argentina and the UK. On the 30th anniversary of the invasion, it is interesting to look instead at the paradox raised by Lorenz: how is it possible that the crowd gathered in Plaza de Mayo to cheer for Leopoldo Galtieri announcing the invasion was the same that had taken to the streets only three days before in protest against the dictatorship?

The reasons lie in what the ‘Malvinas cause’ is to Argentines. As Lorenz argues, “it is perfect for the banal patriotic discourse to work: it is the right cause [to fight for].”

But what exactly is the ‘Malvinas cause’? Argentine political scientist and member of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Vicente Palermo, defines it as a discursive aspect of Argentine nationalism that includes “a narrative of the past, an interpretation of the present and a mandate for the future”, and which has helped to shape national identity.

Two factors have been crucial in developing and keeping the ‘Malvinas cause’ alive: the constitutional mandate and the education system (of which the Constitution is both cause and consequence).

The ‘Malvinas Cause’ at School

'Sal en las heridas' by Vicente Palermo

In his 2007 book ‘Sal en las heridas’, Vicente Palermo recalls that his first memory related to the Malvinas dates back to when he was 12, and he was wearing his first pair of long trousers.

Asked to write a wish to his aunt travelling to Europe, an embarrassed young Palermo all of a sudden wrote “Las Malvinas son argentinas, without even thinking about what he was writing.

Similarly, historian Federico Lorenz said: “I learned that the Malvinas are Argentine at school. We used to write letters to soldiers in class, confident about what we were doing, and the teachers would help us with the envelopes. Somewhere we learned that this or that is homeland, and that someone stole a part of it away from us.”

Behind the obsessive mantra “Las Malvinas son argentinas“, lies a whole set of patriotic messages children come in contact with from a very young age, at school.

With the aim of tracing the origins of the widespread malvinero nationalism back to school, Carlos Escudé, a renowned political scientist and leading figure at the CONICET, analysed the way geography was taught in Argentina from 1879 to 1986.

The results of his study, conducted in 2000 by examining 77 geography textbooks used in primary and secondary schools, were stunning.

What Escudé calls “the indoctrination about territorial nationalism” is a process that consolidated around 1945, more than a century after the islands were taken over by the British.

“Geography textbooks printed before the 1940s attributed to Argentina a territory of 2.800.000 km2, while later textbooks attributed it lands for approximately 4.000.000 km2,” he wrote in his essay.

“In previous years, talking about the so-called disputed territories,” – such as Malvinas and other southern islands, Beagle Channel, Cape Horn Archipelago and Argentine Antarctic Sector – “was a task for diplomats only, not for teachers.”

According to Escudé, the use of these “indoctrination” methods was not specific to the Peronist era, but it also extended to the last decades of the 20th century.

“These images promoted by writing exercises, readings and essays at school stay engraved in children’s memories. […] I have the impression that [continuously looking at and sketching maps] has a strong psychological impact.”

In a controversial article titled ‘Are the Malvinas really ours?’ published on La Nacion on the 14th February, Argentine historian Luis Alberto Romero wrote that: “We have outlined [the frontiers of the Argentine territory] so many times at school that we ended up believing this was the reality.”

The Origins of Territorial Nationalism

The words of Vicente Palermo help give a framework to Escudé’s studies. Palermo explains that Argentine education policies root back to the massive plan of immigration from Europe ordered by the liberal elites at the end of 19th century to provide the country with a larger workforce.

“From 1880, timid education policies were turned into a powerful apparatus of free, compulsory, public education,” Palermo elucidates. “Given the large quantity of foreigners in the country, education is quite nationalistic, featuring a strong element of identification with national symbols and the official history. It is visible in this galloping love for flags; marches and anthems sung everyday while raising the flag.”

Likewise, historian Luis Alberto Romero wrote that Argentine politics are imbued of a nationalistic syndrome. “At the beginning of the 20th century, the obsessive quest for a national identity started […] developed by strong institutions like the army, the [catholic] church and the two biggest democratic movements, Yrigoyenist radicalism and Peronism”

According to the experts, the lost Malvinas islands are at the core of a nationalism constantly looking for itself.

“This is a fundamental part of the dogma. We are a righteous country and our pacifism has turned us into victims. We lost big territories […] but we are morally superior,” Carlos Escudé wrote.

Today: the Righteous State Mission

Speaking before the 41st Assembly of the Federal Education Council on the 28th March, Minister of Education Alberto Sileoni said: “the Malvinas belong to the ministry too,” asking for an increasing prominence of the issue “in all the classrooms of the country.”

“This is because the National Education Act establishes that, and also because the Malvinas were, are, and always will be Argentine,” he added.

'Soberania es recuperar lo nuestro' (Sovereignty is recovering what is ours) posters along Avenida de Mayo. (Photo: Beatrice Murch)

The minister was indeed speaking the truth. National Education Law No. 26,206, in its third article, states that one of the aims of the education system is “to reaffirm the sovereignty and national identity.”

In particular, article 92 of the same law establishes that the common basic curricula should provide resources for the building of a national identity from a regional Latin American perspective (Mercosur) and the inclusion of the “recovery of the Malvinas islands.”

Similarly, the Senate of the Province of Buenos Aires passed law 14.222 (made effective in 2010) to promote the teaching of the sovereignty rights over the Antarctic Sector, the Malvinas, Georgias del Sur and Sandwich del Sur.

“They have to stop with this ‘malvinismo educativo’ (‘educational malvinism’),” comments Vicente Palermo. “Government should promote a sober education: this instilling children with clichés about the ‘Malvinas cause’ seems toxic to me. And it is still in school nowadays.”

In a paper published in 2010 within the booklet Pensar Malvinas, academics Iván Falcón, Evangelina Aceval, Nicolás Cardozo, Eduardo Gómez and Patricia Bernasconi showed how young generations perform a clear dissociation between the Malvinas and the last military dictatorship.

In their study, they interviewed adolescents between 17 and 18 years old in four schools of Corrientes. What they found was that approximately 90% of the interviewees, when asked to tell what was the first thing they could think upon hearing the word ‘Malvinas’, answered: 1. they are Argentine; 2. the bad conditions of the soldiers during the war; 3. their geographical location.

Thus, as they reflect, “the memory is formed and forged in a systematic way, without a deep reflection about the ‘what’, ‘how’ and ‘why’”.

On the opposite side of the dispute, the war of 1982 – known in Argentina as the ‘righteous cause in the hands of bastards’ – was not taught in Falklands’ schools up until 1999.

The ‘Malvinas Cause’ in the Constitution

In 1994, former Senator Eduardo Menem pushed for the introduction of the so-called ‘first provisional clause’ in the National Constitution. The clause requires the government to peacefully “seek to retrieve full sovereignty over the [contended] territories and maritime spaces.”

“[In doing so,] it imposes to respect the life and the customs of the islanders, which above all means to respect their interests,” Eduardo Menem recently answered to Luis Alberto Romero, who had questioned the islands’ sovereignty from the same La Nación columns. In his comment, Menem also added that it was in the islanders’ own interest to become Argentine.

“If we stick to the Constitution, there is no way Argentina and the UK can negotiate a middle-ground position. The constitution imposes to seek the full sovereignty,” Vicente Palermo explains. “However, this can’t be done whilst respecting their lives: it is a contradiction in terms since the kelpers have a clear political will and do not want to be Argentine.”

Vicente Palermo has raised the same point with 16 other intellectuals in an open letter published in February. In their manifesto, ‘Malvinas: an alternative vision’ they criticised “a climate of nationalist agitation”, pointed out that the issue bears little relation to the country’s main problems, and called on Argentina to accept the rights of the islanders to self-determination.

“They were saying that perhaps we should investigate a bit deeper what Malvinas really mean to Argentines,” commented former BBC correspondent for the Americas Daniel Schweimler.

“As far as I can see, they were greeted by a barrage of insults and death threats. It would help their cause if they could open the debate a bit more, although we have books being written and people are starting to discuss the issue a bit more.”

In fact, as Palermo confirms, a second manifesto is being prepared: “Things are starting to change in Argentina. It seems to me that there are many more different voices in the opposition now. The country seems less homogeneous about it. It is a good thing.”

On the other side of the Atlantic, Schweimler states that for the British, the Falklands are still a distant worry.

“There is this often repeated story about the 1982 invasion. When it started, most of the Brits thought the invasion was off the coast of Scotland, so of course they said that ‘we should fight back’. When they realised where the Falklands were, it simply stopped being an issue. Most British people had no idea where the islands where, and now 30 years later most of the young people wouldn’t probably know where they are,” said Schweimler.

“But here, all of the Argentines have an opinion on it. Some are stronger than others, but they reflect various level of consciousness about the issue.”

To find out what Argentines think about the effect of the education system on their opinions about Malvinas, click here.

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43 Responses to “‘Las Malvinas Son Argentinas': Who Taught You That?”

  1. Gillz says:

    Really good article.

  2. Fede says:

    If the islands were British for sure why don’t they sit and negotiate with Argentina, so they won’t loose them if they present really good arguments, the problem is that I think that Argentina has better reasons when they have to negotiate, that is why Britain doesn’t want to sit down at the table and start to talk.

  3. Eugene says:

    The only solution, Fede, is for the Falklands to annex Argentina, a country that is clearly incapable of managing its own affairs. Taxes would be lowered, politicians put in prison instead of being re-elected for stealing. The armed forces could be pared down significantly. Taking this idea further, English Breakfast Tea would replace Mate, Morris Dancing replace the Tango and driving on the left would be mandatory. While the FIG respects the sensitivities of the Argentineans (we’ll come up with a more Anglo-Saxon name for the country in due course), we won’t force you to speak English right away or send you all back to Naples, Sicily, southern Spain, Germany or where ever your grandparents came from until we decide how justified you are in living in the greater Falkland nation. Now, just sit down and tell us when you are going to surrender your independence to us. Remember the British Empire at its height was held by an army of 100,000, so holding Argentina can easily be done by the Falkland Islands Defence Force.

    Silly right? Now do you understand how silly you sound?

  4. Fede says:

    You are completely wrong the people who decide to remain there they won’t be necessary to change any of their tradition. Like it or not that territory belongs to Argentina and sooner or later it will become part of the Argentina. And just in case you are thinking of, Argentina doesn’t want the war those who want it are the British because they like those kind things. That territory will be recovered sitting at table not in a war. With that strategy you are just showing the world how Argentinians are the Islands. My piece of advice is try to sit down and negotiate and try to keep your arguments sitting at the table as a reasonable person maybe British are right and the Islands belong to them and not to Argentina. I think England carries out the worst part when they have to negotiate, that is why they don’t sit at the table and negotiate, and threatened Argentina again with a war.

  5. Eugene says:

    The British, Fede, will not sit down and “negotiate” as long as the Falklanders want to maintain the status quo, which is self-government under British protection. Have you ever been to the Falkland Islands or spoken to an Islander? You should go on YouTube, search around and hear what the people there think of your country. It reminds me of my parents generation’s attitude toward the Germans, forged from the experience of two very destructive world wars. Is this how you want your country to be remembered? Don’t for a moment believe the propaganda in Argentine schools that passes for history about the islands. My advice is to put down your can of spray paint and do some serious research. Even Wikipedia has a well foot-noted article (Re-establishment of British rule on the Falkland Islands, 1833). Start there. Better yet, go visit the islands by yourself and leave your slogans in Buenos Aires.

  6. Roger says:

    At the end of the day possession is ninth tenths of the law. Britain has had its people living there for over 100 years. Argentine does not. I suspect that all this is just a load hot air by the current generation of Argentine politicians to deflect the public’s attention from other problems.

  7. Fede says:

    Dear Eugene, first of all Britain abandoned the Islands between 1774 and 1833, and they had singed a document which said that the Islands belonged to Argentina in 1820 after of declaration of independence of the south American Country, in 1833 UK invaded the Falkland Islands and they took possession over the Islands again ILLEGALLY (like it or not it is like this) because UK broke a deal. (And you call Argies corrupted people, they probably are, but those kind of people live everywhere included prime minister David Cameron). Second self determination does not apply here, and British with that has a problem because of Hong Kong when they did not care about what people said there. and last but not least, I have done some research and the more I investigate, the more I realize that that territory belongs to Argentina and not UK. The Island are British Who taught you that? and I will ask you the last question what would happen if someone gets into your house and stays there saying that that is his house? How would you feel? how would you react? This is what we feel about the Islands. Try not to read British books about the Islands, I know because they skips some details that are not convenient. I’ve read some books about history and they doesn’t mention anything about those documents that I have mentioned above and they exist.

  8. Eugene says:

    Okay Fede, here is another concept for you. It is called critical thinking. It means not accepting anything at face value. Thus, if you disagree with the article I mentioned (Re-establishment of British rule in the Falklands, 1833), you might try “Origin of the Falkland Islanders”, also in Wikipedia and also well-footnoted. If you find it to be nothing more than British disinformation and propaganda, then prove it. Do some research and that means looking at more than one source, examine the bibliography and if possible find original documentation. Check out the Argentine National Academy of History (Academia Nacional de Historia de Argentina) or go to England, if you can bear to, and dig through the archives at the Public Record Office. Watch out for those Marxist historians and their neo-Fascist brothers who love to turn everything into a class struggle or national war of liberation. At a quick glance at Argentine history, it appears to have had a violent and divided start, with Buenos Aires only finally becoming the nation’s capital in 1861. Your ancestors, assuming you can trace your descent to a Spanish settler, had their hands full and worrying about a collection of islands, whose sole inhabitants were some unpaid gauchos and about 150 other souls being harassed by the Americans, were the last thing on their minds. By the way, none of the Argentine settlers were expelled, which is why there are a lot of Spanish loan-words in Falkland English, the most obvious one being “the Camp.” Also, on the one hand you say that self-determination does not apply since the current inhabitants were brought in to replace the Argentine population, making them illegal squatters who can be expelled, yet you say that if, and when, the islands are rejoined to the motherland, the traditions of the islanders will be respected. Which is it to be? Your argument gives them no rights at all and yet they have been there longer than most Argentineans have been in Argentina. You mention Hong Kong. What does HK have to do with the Falklands? The British 99-year lease on the New Territories expired in 1997 and HK Colony was too small to be sustained as a separate entity, so the British got the best deal they could for the city and its people. Finally, unless Argentina takes the islands by force and expels its people, you are just going to have to keep on yearning for something you cannot have.

  9. Fede says:

    You know what? maybe you are right, that is why Britain should sit down and “negotiate”. If Britain knows that they are right nothing will happen and Argentina will never reclaim again the Islands and the problem will be solved. What is the fear if UK is correct?

  10. Fede says:

    Argentina is not the only country who asks this, there are also more than 130 countries including USA that say that Britain and Argentina must to discuss this issue. What I really want is that this matter really finish.

  11. Eugene says:

    Fede, there is no negotiating until the Islanders want to negotiate, I don’t care how many countries say this should happen. The British always had a self-government policy with their settler colonies. It means that the Falkland Islands are semi-independent with Britain providing defense and foreign affairs. This was even true with the North American colonies before independence. Each one had its own mini-parliament and this was the pattern in the settler colonies, including Africa. Rhodesia was able to declare independence in 1965 because the settler community had been self-governing since 1923. Declaring independence was a formality in that case. However, back to our little issue. I suggested before and I’ll do it again. Go visit the islands, preferably during the summer and look around. There is a lot to see, aside from the battlefields and all those sheep and penguins and the natives won’t eat you. But the most important reason you should go there is to visit the graves of your compatriots who died there in 1982 and pay your respects. You might even want to contact a parent or relative, especially a mother who has never had the chance to see her son’s final resting place and ask her if you can take a memento to place on his grave. If you have never been in a war or lost a close family member or a friend you have no idea of the pain of that loss and the hole it creates in the lives of those left behind. You never stop thinking about how his life might have turned out.

  12. Fede says:

    Ok yeah maybe you are right and the islands belong to you, however, my point of discussion are far away from that. You have to tell Argentine diplomatic people with a supervision of an arbiter that the Islands don’t belong to Argentina.
    Keep on that attitude and more and more people will believe that the Islands don’t belong to Britain. With that behaviour, Britain is showing to the world that they don’t sit down talk because if that happens UK will lose the Island. Maybe you don’t realise this but the pressure on UK is increasing. UN is telling sit down and talk more than 130 countries say sit down and talk. UK is not only disobeying a UN resolution but also do try to challenge Argentina to something else.

  13. Fede says:

    Can I ask you sth else Eugene are you from the Falkland Islands? I’d like to visit the Falkland Islands, as you recommended to visit Falkland Islands I recommend you to visit Argentina to see from your eyes that Argentinian people are not that savage as you think, maybe we are a little primitives but also we are kind and very warm people.

  14. Eugene says:

    Actually I am American; my mother was English, and I live in Italy. I am a retired senior sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve and did two tours in Iraq, the first of which was spent with the unit searching for Saddam Hussein’s WMD, which did not exist, so I know a little about governments that bend the truth. Beware of politicians who exploit your love of country for ulterior motives. They are never the ones who die or send their sons to die. Sometimes war is necessary and you have to stand up and be counted. I would very much like to visit Argentina, but that is easier said than done. I certainly have nothing against your country and I do not for a moment believe you and Argentina are primitive. I have always loved traveling and would do more of it if I could. My nephew spent about six or seven months in BA a couple of years ago, loved it and became addicted to mate. So, apply for that passport, pack your bags and see the world!

  15. Fede says:

    I know what you say about the politicians who exploit us. My Nationalism is far distant from this kind of government if fact I am not in favor of CFK I know she is a corrupted and she must be in gaol as many members of the parliament. I don’t like the way they are leading the country even though the economic situation is growing. However, I must tell you that Argentina won’t involve in a war no matter what British people do.
    Respecting the passport I applied some years ago but I couldn’t use it yet, lol, anyway, I’m planning to visit Europe in the near future but I have to take courage because the money that I have to spend is too much.

  16. Dave says:

    i think the english should leave that island and give it back to argentina,it belongs to them.

  17. William Wallace says:

    I think that the British give the Falklands to the Argies, when the argentinians give argentina bacl to the native indians who had it first…long before any spanish, portugues, italian, etc came to americans to rape and pillage whatever they could for Isabella or using their catholic God as justification!!! Same rules apply, so neither party can truely clame land!! Hell even the arg president has a foreign name…so ultimately descended from inmigrants!!

    But i agree its one hellava reason for Gov to differ public news and thoughts away from poor handling of economy issues, and other poor government. Just look at the scandal of yerba mate currently happening and causing huge impacts on economy!!

  18. Fede says:

    A little bit of history according Argentinian side.

    It appears that you have been mislead over the Falkland Islands history. Luis Vernet didn’t arrive in the Falklands until 1826 and his settlement wasn’t until 1828.

    He was appointed “governor” in 1829.

    Although Vernet himself was arrested for piracy by the Americans in 1831, his settlement was still in the Falklands in 1833 when the British returned. His settlement was encouraged to stay, and all but four did including his deputy Matthew brisbane.

    The Argentine “settlement” that you are confusing Vernet with was the illegal penal colony set up by Esteban Mestevier in October 1832. Sadly for him he was murdered in a mutiny and his successor Pinedo was appointed Governor by the time the British returned in january 1833.

    It was this penal colony that was expelled, which was a military installation NOT the civilian community.

    So, rather than the 23 year indigenous population of Argentines that you claim, the truthful history is somewhat different.

    The original populations (before 1690 the islands were uninhabited) were French (west Falkland) and British (east Falkland) followed by a Spanish settlement. In 1771 Britain and Spain almost went to war over the sovereinty but agreed a joint plan based on the two settlements.

    Spain and Britain had withdrawn their civilian populations by 1811 and although Britain still claimed sovereignty it was only used as a port for ships going around Cape Horn.

    So between 1811 and 1828 there were no civilian populations until Vernet arrived.

    Vernet’s community was not expelled. Only the mutinous illegal penal colony of Pinedo, which had been there the sum total of 3 months.

    180 years on..Argentina believes this constitutes a claim.

    The solution is simple: Ask the islanders what they want and stick to it.

    1) British overseas territory
    2) Argentinian state
    3) Fully independent country

    The islanders should not lose their right to self determination for removing an illegal penal colony 180 years ago. Otherwise Argeninian citizens should lose theirs for the genocide of the South American Indians by the Conquistodors!!

  19. Eugene says:

    The result of the referendum in the Falklands is a foregone conclusion. The people will choose to retain their current status, but will eventually opt for independence once the islands achieve a “critical mass” of population and once oil starts coming in. The sad part is that Argentina, with all its natural blessings, should be a place that people aspire to go to and be part of. A country, like the U.S.A. where people have gone to build new lives. Until the Argentine government stops trying to reinvent economic laws and meddle in everyones’ lives, it will be a nation of great potential and little else.

  20. Carol says:

    Malvinas was not the only issue we studied while I was at school (even during the war). Why does it go on for Argentinians? Because all the other bilateral conflicts with neighbouring countries have been solved (and most of them, we lost). There’s no reason for the islanders and the British Government not to sit and talk. In this way, the matter will be settled (and probably lost by Argentina. sd the UN will take into consideration the islanders more than the past) and what is most important, the boundaries between Argentina and the Malvinas/Falklands will be established to prevent future conflict.

    Problem here is that traditional British foreign policy does not want to establish the sea boundaries, they (politicians) aim at the Patagonia. They will say “nobody’s here so this is ours” as they usually do, they don’t care about maps but about showing “hey, we have been here”, even it they do not own the place (in this case, the sea).

  21. Carol says:

    At William Wallace: give back Scotland to the Scots, Wales to the Welsh, the whole of Ireland to the Irish and then we may talk.

    Every country has done something to another, that’s the sad truth. I just wanted to show you things are not that simple, I have nothing at all against you. And also, the EU should allow all of us to go back to Europe in order to give back the lands. Are you ready to accept lets say, 30 million people back? XD

  22. Eugene says:

    Saying that everyone should go back to where they came from, or their ancestors came from is a rather silly argument. Should I, as an American of Anglo-Saxon origin have to go back to central Europe, where all good Angles and Saxons came from before they took Britannia away from the Britons and gave the place a different name? No. Conquest has been around since mankind stood up on his, or her, hind legs. I am surprised that thinking Argentines even waste time arguing the Falkland/Malvinas issue. Everyone knows it is a political football the government brings up from time to time to whip up patriotic sentiment, which distracts from things like the rising price of mate, confiscating oil companies or the government’s meddling incompetence. Have you noticed how the whole issue has dropped off the front page? In a year or two when Premier Oil begins pumping oil in commercial quantities, CFK will begin the whole thing all over again, especially if she is up for re-election. The Peronist youth movement will attack British-owned businesses, wave flags and everyone will write furious letters about sitting down and negotiating and who got where first.

  23. Vern says:

    Lets get some things straight here.
    The reason why the UK will not negotiate over sovereignty is because of the 1982 Argentine invasion.
    There is and always has been a general consensus amongst the British that says that aggression shall not be rewarded, therefore even any talk of negotiations with Argentina would be perceived as weakness by any UK government willing to take part would be castigated by the public and press and simply would not be tolerated.
    But the real issue at stake as far as the UK is concerned are the Islanders, and the real problem for Argentina is that the UK perceives the situation as the Islanders as underdogs versus an aggressive state, and once again the UK national psyche will always favour the underdog.
    Another problem is Argentina itself, with it’s recent history of military juntas taking over and running the state, which is also a concern the UK. There will have to be a good deal more than only 30 years of democracy in Argentina before the UK could possibly undertake any discussions, there are trust issues at stake here, and the risk of political interference by the Argentine military has not yet subsided in the minds of the people / government of the UK.
    Lastly, media stunts such as the Argentine hockey player training in the Falklands only makes UK attitudes stiffen and is totally counterproductive to Argentine aims.

  24. Eugene says:

    The recent noise generated by the Argentine government was entirely for domestic consumption. The conduct of CFK and the Argentine ambassador to Britain has been nothing less than puerile throughout this latest “Malvinas” flap. The fact that it reminded the British people about the Falkland Islands, as if they needed reminding on this anniversary year, and made the Islanders nervous, was all good stuff for CFK’s Peronist nationalist economic agenda. One of Mussolini’s slogans, painted on walls across Italy was “Molti Nemici, Molto Onore!” (many enemies, much honor) and CFK comes from a similar tradition.

  25. Adam says:

    It’s very humorous that the Argentinians are criticising the UK for not ‘negotiating’ with them (and by ‘negotiating’, they mean giving them the Falklands).

    Why on Earth would they negotiate when you have absolutely no legitimacy in your claims? You never owned the Malvinas, there were never more than three dozen Argentinians on the islands at a time, and those who were there when the British returned agreed to live under British rule.

    So, what is it? Argentina has to first present a coherent, rational, legal argument for anyone to even dignify its laughable claims.

    I’m American, by the way.

  26. Boovis says:

    Argentina says to negotiate, negotiate means to offer something in return for something, but Argentina want the islands with nothing in return. That’s not negotiation, that’s just taking. How is the UK supposed to negotiate Argentina taking the islands, especially as the UK is convinced they are their islands anyway? It’s like admitting that perhaps they are wrong, which they believe they aren’t. You have to see their point of view.

  27. jordan says:

    the UK will not negotiate since as far as it is concerned it is their in the same way was Alaska in closer to Russia and Canada then USA.

  28. Mymatedave says:

    OK, my take on it….

    Spain forcibly colonized the southern Americas including
    what they now call Argentina. They committed genocide against the indigenous
    people and Argentina was the last refuge for the jack booted Nazi war criminals
    of world war two. It is these descendants that now call foul over the
    Falklands, well we can see who the hypocrites are and I think Argentina should
    first remove all Spanish descendants from their soil before lecturing the
    British who invited the Argentineans to leave the Falklands and only used military
    power after the 1982 invasion by Argentina.

    So a brief history lesson for Argentina without all the Nazi
    nationalist fervour they seem to go in for in Argentina;

    When they were first discovered
    by a Dutchman in 1600 there was nothing there but seabirds. No people, no
    cultural heritage for anyone to trample over. Just a bunch of windy rocks.

    Ninety years later a British sailor was blown off
    course and sailed through a bit of water he named Falkland Sound, and 74 years
    after that the French turned up to form a colony.

    WAIT! I hear you cry. The French colonised the
    Falklands?

    Why yes, and 18th century email being what it was
    the British turned up two years later and built a settlement on another one of
    the islands and claimed the whole lot for the Crown, unaware the Frenchies were
    already in residence.

    The French sold out to the Spaniards a year after
    that, who put the colony – containing French people – under control of a
    governor in Buenos Aires.

    Three years later the Spanish picked a fight with
    the Brits, kicked them out and after a peace treaty let us back in. In 1774 the
    Brits, overstretched by the Americans kicking off, withdrew and left a plaque
    behind asserting their claim. Thirty two years later the Spaniards departed
    too, leaving another plaque, and in 1811 the last settlers threw in the towel.

    We were back to empty, windy rocks known only to
    whalers and sealing ships, and two memorial plaques.

    In 1820 an American pirate called David Jewett took
    shelter there, and finding the place deserted promptly claimed the islands for
    a union of South American provinces which later became Argentina.

    You lot didn’t realise this for a year, but still
    didn’t settle the islands. Instead a German who pretended to be French called
    Luis Vernet came along, asked the Argentines and the Brits politely if they
    minded, and founded a little colony of his own.

    It took him a few goes, but eventually he
    established a settlement, you named him governor and gave him the right to kill
    all the seals. This quite hacked off the Brits, who wanted some seals for
    themselves, but Vernet placated us by asking for our military protection.

    It all got a bit hairy in 1831, when Vernet found
    some American seal ships, arrested their crews and sparked an international
    incident. The Americans sent a warship, blew up the settlement, and
    hot-headedly sent the most senior settlers to the mainland for trial for piracy.

    The Argentines sent a new governor to establish a
    penal settlement, but he was killed in a mutiny the day he arrived. The Brits,
    quite reasonably, decided the whole thing was a dog’s breakfast.

    And now we get to the bit you’re unhappy about
    Argentina, the invasion and forced expulsion.

    The Brits arrived two months after this mutiny, and
    wrote to the chap in charge of the small Argentine garrison. The letter said:

    “I have to direct you that I have received
    directions from His Excellency and Commander-in-Chief of His Britannic
    Majesty’s ships and vessels of war, South America station, in the name of His
    Britannic Majesty, to exercise the rights of sovereignty over these Islands.

    It is my intention to hoist to-morrow the national
    flag of Great Britain on shore when I request you will be pleased to haul down
    your flag on shore and withdraw your force, taking all stores belonging to your
    Government.”

    Now, there are many ways people can be oppressed,
    forced, compelled and abused – just ask Sean Penn – but a polite note is not
    one of them. The Argentine in charge thought briefly about resisting, but he
    didn’t have many soldiers and besides, most of them were British mercenaries
    who refused to fight. So on January 3, 1833 you left, Argentina, with wounded
    pride and your nose in the air.

    You had never settled the islands. Never
    established a colony of your own. Never guarded it with a garrison of your own
    soldiers. They had never, ever, been yours.

    And now to the matter of that expulsion. The log of
    an Argentine ship present at the time records the settlers were encouraged to
    stay, and those that left did so of their own free will and generally because
    they were fed up with living on some boring, windy rocks.

    Eleven people left – four Argentines, three ‘foreigners’,
    one prisoner, a Brit and two Americans.

    Twenty-two people remained – 12 Argentineans, four
    Uruguay Indians, two Brits, two Germans, a Frenchman and a Jamaican.

    As the imposition of colonial power on an
    indigenous population goes, that takes some beating. And for the sake of
    clarity I should point out that a human melting pot like that makes the place
    about as British as you can be.

    A few months later HMS Beagle, taking Charles
    Darwin to the Galapagos for a long think, popped in and found the settlement
    half-ruined and the residents lawless. There were several murders, some
    looting, and in 1834 the exasperated British sent Lieutenant Henry Smith to run
    the place.

    The islands have been ours ever since, and is now
    home to almost 3,000 people descended from settlers who came from Britain,
    France, Scandinavia, Gibraltar, St Helena and Chile.

    At the same time, you went on to fight wars with
    most of South America and colonise provinces with indigenous populations by
    killing or pushing them out.

    When your government was broke and facing strong
    opposition in the 1980s, you invaded them to divert attention of the voters
    with the cost of 907 lives, and it cannot be unrelated to your letter that in a
    few weeks you face being ejected by the International Monetary Fund for lying
    over your economic figures.

    At around the same time, the people who now live on
    these boring, windy rocks in the middle of nowhere are having a referendum
    about who they would like to govern them. You will ignore this, because you
    believe they do not have a right to make up their own minds and have repeatedly
    refused to talk to the islanders about your claims.

    So allow me to make a couple of things clear.
    Firstly, the history of these windy rocks is an utter mess but someone had to
    take charge, and you weren’t up to the job. We did it pretty nicely,
    considering our record in other places.

    Secondly, only jackbooted colonial scumbags refuse
    to listen to the democratic voice of the people who live somewhere, so you
    really ought to wind your hypocritical warmongering necks in.

    And thirdly – well done with the wine, and the
    beef’s pretty good, but if you want to negotiate let’s start with you taking
    back your Total Wipe out, because as cultural imperialism goes it’s pretty
    offensive, and you might want to think about handing Patagonia back to its
    people as well.

    After that we are quite prepared to let you come
    and holiday on these windy rocks, where you will be invited to pitch a tent
    anywhere you like within the 13 square kilometres where you left 19,000
    landmines last time you visited.

    We know they’re a long way away. We know there’s
    not much to the rocks, and there might be oil and it might give someone a claim
    to Antarctica.

    But we also know something you don’t – which is
    that a well-run, law-abiding and happy bunch of rocks is the best bunch of
    rocks you can hope to have. You’re no more up to that job now than you have
    ever been.

  29. I am sorry to say sirs that you are all idiots.
    http://youtu.be/DCX3ZNDZAwY

  30. Charlie says:

    Fede

    The issue with negotiation is that there is no middle ground. We both have conflicting views of history with both sides thinking that theirs is correct. Argentina wants full sovereignty over the islands and the Britsh want to allow self determination of peoples under the UN charter (something which Ban Ki Moon has said applies to the Islanders). Unless we cede full soverignty Argentina will not be happy, as such it is impossile to negotiate when there is no middle ground with both countries refusing to move. As such, this is really a human rights issue. I don’t care what happens to the land but I do think that it is importnat to consider the rights of the islanders as humans, with lives and an identity. As such they are the most important people becuase whatever happens affects them more than anyone else. They shoud be given the choice and, should they vote to keep their current stsus, the UN will support them as optherwise they would have to tear up the UN constitution.

  31. Eugene says:

    The next step is independence! South America’s newest nation by 2033! Desire the Right! Bets anyone?

  32. Deanstreet says:

    Perhaps readers would like to know more about the crazy claim of argentina to my country.

    If you do then please go to the following links to study the history :

    http://www.falklandshistory.org/false-falklands-history.pdf

    Spanish version: http://www.falklandshistory.org/historia-falsa.pdf

    http://www.falklandshistory.org/false-falklands-history.pdf

    Both PDF files to be found at:

    http://www.falklandshistory.org/

    More..

    http://falklandstimeline.wordpress.com/

    I would also recommend that you visit:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/52978952@N04/5533643350/

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/malvinas/discuss/72157626157758043/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/52978952@N04/5533028871/

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/malvinas/discuss/72157626007581908/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/52978952@N04/#

    The history is rather quite simple if one cares to read..

    Kindest regards from the Falkland Islands

  33. Eugene says:

    When faced with historical facts about the Falklands, all Argentines have to offer are slogans, myths and, in the final resort, insults. The fact that the Argentine government has done absolutely nothing to ascertain the identity of at least half the young men buried in the Darwin Cemetery is an absolute disgrace. Yet they use their ultimate sacrifice as a cheap tool for political gain.

  34. Renato says:

    This is an interesting debate. As a British-born lad with an Argie father this issue has caused me to be the subject of much stick both at school in Argentina and UK. And by the way, Falklands as a history subject in Argentinian schools is a bit like learning about Nazi Germany in UK schools – you learn about it at least twice during your school career (overkill).

    However I urge my fellow Argies – be clever – don’t let the government use this to blind you from the issues that really matter in Argentina. Falklands / Malvinas is NOT one of them. Inflation? Corruption? Crime? Poverty? All more important.

    And please, if anybody knows a government official, get them to remove the ridiculous map of Argentinian territory from off the back of my Argie passport – it’s an embarrassment. For those of you that have never seen an Argie passport, google it and you’ll know what I mean.

    Peace to all of you.

  35. Fer says:

    Deanstreet, great piece of british propaganda, now go and study the would history about Malvinas, as well as you Eugene, not just British one. Obvey UN Resolutions, particularly 2065. What Ban-Ki-Mon says is anecdotic, there about about 40 UN Resolutions which ask to both Countries to negotiate the issue. UN in 1985 said that this is not a self determination case but a territorial integrity one. Of course islanders have rights but self determination as they are descendents of / or illigal implanted population by an alien occupant force. It doesn’t matter the number of generations and the years from the british invation, And above all this is not about an argentinian government in particular or the problems that coud be in Argentina, people are not stupid. Malvinas cause is above any argentina government. Argentina people not only is formed in schools about this issue but reading And investigating on they own. No brain washing at all. In my case I studied both, And found a lot of weaknesses in British position, that’s why British government Don’t want to talk, to discuss. The argument that say ” they Don’t have to talk till islanders allow it” shows crearly weaknesses, of course they Don’t want to talk as they are British!!! they are part of the problem!!! They are a colony on lands that not belonge to them and there is not thirth parts in the dispute, this is something between Argentina and UK. Btw, if they want to remain british no problem, if they want to speak in English no problem, their culture, religion, they way they live their lifes will be respect, this is not about attacking Humans Rights, is about sovereingty, a right that they Don’t have.
    The argument “we will return Malvinas when argentina return lands to indigenuos”, lol, what a simplification of history! Actually indigenuos are argentinians!!! In my case a I have Guaraní and Diaguita blood in my veins. So, stop distorting the issue. Malvinas is a fair case as many others such as Diego García one, Scotland independece one, reunification of Ireland, etc. In sovereingty disputes of course both Parts have rights, the thing is to find who have stronger arguments, that’s why UK refuse to talk. Study the issue seriously without patriotism or affection feelings for any part And will see why UN gives place to Argentina’s claims. Regards.

  36. Eugene says:

    What did I tell you about myths and slogans? Fer has given us myths and slogans. He has all the information at his fingertips, supplied by the back and forth between Fede and me as well as the links supplied by Deanstreet, who is a Kelper, and a very reasonable piece by Renato. The fact that Fer is part Guaraní and Diaguita is irrelevant. Argentina is falling to pieces and he is worried about who owns the the Falkland Islands!

  37. Roger L. says:

    A work in progress – http://falklandislandshistory.blogspot.com/2013/09/falklandislands-theconcise-history.html

    There is a link to a mkore detailed work on the first page.

    Enjoy.

  38. Andrew says:

    @Fer May I remind you Argentina is a land of European immigrants implanted by Spanish pirates If your country was truly secure in it’s belief then you would take your case to The ICJ but you won’t so I ask you why are you afraid to take your case to the ICJ????? also NO country would sit down with another country to negotiate when 1 country sets pre conditions which in Argentines case is Sovereignty it will never happen. finally last year Banki Moon the UN secrtary general made it clear that The United Kingdom is NOT in breach of any UN resolutions but here read for yourself

    Contrary to the oft-stated assertions of Argentina’s Government over the issue of the Falkland Islands, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has confirmed that Britain is not in Breach of any UN Resolutions.

    “I don’t think Security Council members are violating relevant UN resolutions. The impression is that people who are living under certain conditions should have access to certain level of capacities so that they can decide on their own future. And that is the main criteria of the main UN bodies. Having independence or having some kind of government in their territories. I don’t think it’s an abuse or violation of relevant UN resolutions, the UN has been working strongly from its very beginning to help non autonomous territories to achieve independence ”, he said in an interview with Tiempo Argentino, a Buenos Aires based newspaper.

    The Argentina Government of Cristina Fernandez often alleges that previously issued UN Resolutions have been ignored by the British Government, even though there has not been a UN General Assembly Resolution on the issue since 1988. That called for diplomatic relations between Britain and Argentina to be restored after the break caused by Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland islands in 1982. Relations were renewed in 1989.

    The Falkland Islands were first claimed by Britain in 1765. Argentina has attempted to claim them since 1829; a claim based on an unrecognised inheritance from Spain, and geography. Britain fully supports the Falkland Islanders’ right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Charter.

    These Island will remain what The Falkland Islanders wish them to Argentina you hammered the final nail in the coffin in 1982.

  39. Biguggy says:

    I find it strange that no one in any of the above comments has mentioned that twice the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has said that Article 73 of the UN Charter, which Argentina has ratified, gives the right of self-determination to ALL Non-Self-Governing Territories (NSGTs). These ICJ Advisory Opinions can be found:
    Paragraph 54 of http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/61/6195.pdf
    and paragraph 52 of: http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/53/5595.pdf

    In 1965 the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution 2065, much loved by malvinistas’, inter alia this resolution confirms that UNGA resolution applies to the Falklands (Argentina voted ‘for’ this resolution the UK objected and abstained). As the UNGA has stated that its resolution 2065 applies to the Fallands it means that they (the Falklands) are a ‘colonial situation’ and a NSGT and therefore Article 73 of the UN Charter applies to them.

    Article 73 of the UN Charter is available here:
    http://www.un.org/en/documents/charter/chapter11.shtml
    and reads, in part, as follows:

    “Members of the United Nations which have or assume responsibilities for the administration of territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government recognize the principle that the interests of the inhabitants of these territories are paramount, and accept as a sacred trust the obligation to promote to the utmost, within the system of international peace and security established by the present Charter, the well-being of the inhabitants of these territories, and, to this end:”

    Please note the words ‘inhabitants’ (not ‘people[s]’ or ‘population[s]’), ‘interests’ and ‘paramount’.
    Now as the interests of the inhabitants are paramount this means that they are above every thing else and that would include the dreams, aspirations, claims etc of anyone/anything and that would, of course, include Argentina.

  40. Biguggy says:

    My apologies. The paragraph in the above post which reads:

    “In 1965 the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution 2065, much loved by malvinistas’, inter alia this resolution confirms that UNGA resolution applies to the Falklands (Argentina voted ‘for’ this resolution the UK objected and abstained). As the UNGA has stated that its resolution 2065 applies to the Fallands it means that they (the Falklands) are a ‘colonial situation’ and a NSGT and therefore Article 73 of the UN Charter applies to them”

    Should read:
    “In 1965 the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution 2065, much loved by malvinistas’, inter alia this resolution confirms that UNGA resolution 1514 applies to the Falklands (Argentina voted ‘for’ this resolution the UK objected and abstained). As the UNGA has stated that its resolution 2065 applies to the Fallands it means that they (the Falklands) are a ‘colonial situation’ and a NSGT and therefore Article 73 of the UN Charter applies to them”

    Once again my apologies.

  41. Eugene says:

    This article was written almost two years ago and still generates responses, both considered and emotional. The author should do a follow-up. On a purely practical level, I can’t imagine your average Argentine wanting to leave his, or her, sun-soaked country with its great food for all those sheep, penguins, Kelpers and that wind. I’m a complete outsider, but find the whole subject fascinating.

  42. Werner Almesberger says:

    Eugene, I think the Malvinas would make a great penal colony. Having access to them would allow for some more creative solutions to Argentina’s crime epidemic than overcrowded prisons, lax sentences favoured by the current government’s bad childhood memories of a state with too much law and order, almost daily prison escapes, and absurdly frequent and violent crimes.

    And who knows, if left to their own devices, maybe the criminals will eventually get their act together and become decent human beings. It worked for Australia.

    – Werner

  43. Eugene says:

    Werner,

    It sounds like Argentina has become the penal colony. I imagine the Kelpers get down on their knees every day of the week to thank God they have nothing to do with Argentina.

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