In Argentina, The Falkland Islands are referred to as “Las Malvinas.” They hold a special place in the country’s national psyche, as Michael Cohen, the director of the New School’s Observatory on Latin America, points out.
Act (Michael Cohen):
I’ve visited dozens and dozens of cities and towns in Argentina. Every single one of these communities has a street named “Malvinas Argentinas.”
You don’t need to know much Spanish to understand that. At the time of the war, Argentina was ruled by a military junta. In a the decision that remains equal parts baffling and tragic: the military invaded and occupied the islands. The Argentine military was of course no match for Great Britain, who retook control of the islands after just 2 months of fighting.
Act (Suarez Orozco)
The military had run out of tricks, and, in a way, the Malvinas excursion was the final trek of a desperate regime that was beginning to crumble.Act. (Michael Cohen)
This was a regime that had killed…there were 30,000 dissappeared. So the fact that they then lost a war which was badly organized and badly prepared by the part of the military demonstrated their incompetence and they basically decided to turn it back to democracy.
Act (Suarez Orozco)
The military had run out of tricks, and, in a way, the Malvinas excursion was the final trek of a desperate regime that was beginning to crumble.
That’s Marcelo Suarez Orozco, an Argentine Globalization professor at NYU.
The Argentine military was of course no match for the British Navy and Air Force, which overwhelmed the invaders after just 2 months of fighting. Nearly 1000 people died as a result, including more than 250 British troops. The junta fell from power soon thereafter—a bittersweet outcome for Argentines, but the defeat has continued to rankle thirty years later.
Track: (Michael Cohen)
The Argentine claim now, in the present situation, is that this is really a vestage of colonialism.
The British maintain a defense force on the islands, even sending Prince William on a deployment there earlier this year. Argentine President Christina Kirchner has been vocal in recent months in protesting what she calls the militarization of the region.
Act: (David Cohen)
The Argentine government has quite clearly said that the British seem to be involved in militarizing the southern Atlantic.
Besides it claim of sovereignty, Argentina’s interests in the Falklands also lie in the archipelago’s plentiful fisheries and the presence of off shore oil. Kirchner has rallied support amongst several of her neighbors including Brazil, Chile and Uruguay to refuse ships flying the Falkland flag entry into their ports. Kirchner has also said she would take the issue to the UN.
Act: (Orozco Suarez)
I think the Argentines will continue to pursue their interests and their case, via the international fora, I don’t think anybody in their right mind is thinking that we are gonna come back to what happened 30 years ago, a very dark chapter in Latin American history.
But one thing the Argentine government has made a point of asserting however, is it seeks to resolve the dispute through a peaceful resolution.
Russ Finkelstein, Columbia Radio News.