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Falklands War remains 'an open wound' in Argentina.

Posted on 2nd May 2022

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I found the remarks by the Argentinian ambassador to the UK, as reported here by the BBC, to be naïve and ill informed.

The ambassador said that the Falklands war is still an 'open wound' for the Argentinian people, as if it is not so for British people. Argentina strongly believes that the Falklands/Malvinas belong to them; the UK believes just as strongly that they belong to Britain. The clinching argument is that the people who live there consider themselves British and want to remain part of Britain. He also said that "he wants to re-engage with the UK government to discuss sovereignty"; does he really think that Britain is willing to negotiate away the ownership of the islands, ignoring the wishes of the residents, after having gone to war to defend the islands?

The ambassador's justification for his belief that the UK is ready to negotiate over the sovereignty of the Falklands is that he is "completely sure that the new generation [do not] have any idea regarding the war or that Britain has a beef with Argentina regarding the South Atlantic,". This BBC story, published on the same day, demonstrates that this is not true; the headline is "General Belgrano: The opera singer who survived the sinking of the Argentine cruiser". For those of you who are neither British nor Argentine, the General Belgrano is not the name of the opera singer, but the name of the Argentine cruiser sunk by Britain during the Falklands war (with great loss of life), and the BBC clearly feels that this piece of history requires no better introduction in the headline, because all their readers are aware of it.

The argument for the Falklands remaining British is the same as that for Gibraltar remaining British, and in contrast to the situation with Hong Kong (a former British territory abutting China) and Macau (a former Portuguese territory abutting China), where both populations were ethnically Chinese and did not, in general, identify as British/Portuguese.