My Source for News from Argentina
In both 2011 and 2015, I have relied heavily on the website of The Buenos Aires Herald for my news about Argentina, South America, the United States, and also the World. Every day, there is an article about the value of the dollar in pesos—both the official rate and the “blue” rate. Based on the photo above, it is also published in a newsprint edition, which I will check up on when I arrive in B.A.
Occasionally, I will find stories which are not even well covered in the U.S. For instance, Israel has banned most Palestinians from the Old City of Jerusalem for a two day period during Jewish holiday observances.
It is interesting to see that Argentina is still going hammer and tongs after the British for doing oil exploration in what the Brits call the Falklands and the Argentinians the Islas Malvinas. Firms that are involved may have their property confiscated if they should anchor at an Argentinian port.
The Official Flag of Argentina
Today, Martine and I went for a walk on the spectacular campus of Pepperdine University in Malibu. It was a hot, but crystal-clear day with clear views toward Catalina and Palos Verdes. What was different today was a display of some 3,000 flags, mostly the stars and stripes. I guessed that they represented the students on campus and their country of origin. Instead, it was a commemoration of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, in which 2,996 people died. The non-American flags represented the country of origin of the victims of the Al Qaeda terrorists.
Toward the end of the display, I stopped by a flag of Argentina. At the same time I felt sad for the Argentinian victim of the attack, I felt a warm glow in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Argentina and Chile in November.
It was Manuel Belgrano who designed the flag in Rosario in 1812 during his country’s war of independence from Spain. It was officially accepted as the nation’s official flag at the Congress of Tucumán on July 20, 1816, complete with the stylized image of the sun. An alternate ornamental version of the flag is minus the sun.
At one point last week, I fell afoul of a clique of rabid Little Englander trolls by suggesting that this flag should by rights be flying over the Falkland Islands. I have since decided to moderate my enthusiasm for all things Argentinian and cede the archipelago to the Brits.
All I Did Was Express an Opinion
Yesterday, I posted a blog about the Falklands War of 1982 and ran into a hailstorm of British patriotism, challenging me to provide reasons. Very well, I am prepared to do so.
I prefer Argentina’s claims to Britain’s because … well … the Argentinians have better food. (The British cheeses, however, are vastly superior—especially Stilton.) I cannot help but think the poor mutton-eating settlers of the Falklands do not appreciate the extent to which they have been deprived.
Am I anti-British? By no means. On the other hand, I was never a supporter of Margaret Thatcher. But then, General Galtieri and his Junta win no awards either.
Let’s just call it an unsupported opinion by an obviously prejudiced observer.
Argentine Prisoners of War in Port Stanley, 1982
In 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, which it had claimed ever since independence from Spain in 1810. However, England and France had also settled the archipelago, though France eventually abandoned their claims to Spain. Argentina could very well have won, except for one thing: Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher was in charge, and she was having none of it. A short but bloody conflict ensued, with the Brits coming out on top. The Argentine junta of General Galtieri promptly collapsed and was replaced by free elections.
To whom do the Falklands rightly belong? A British sea captain named John Strong discovered the islands in 1690, and Louis Antoine de Bougainville started a French settlement in 1764. There were English, French, Spanish, and Argentinean gaucho settlers in the Falklands; but England decided to lay claim to the whole shooting match in 1833.
That has never sat well with Argentina, which calls the archipelago the Islas Malvinas. The airport in Tierra del Fuego’s Ushuaia is called Malvinas Argentinas International Airport. Streets throughout the Republic bear the name Malvinas. And now the new 50-peso note reiterates the Argentine claim. The country is full of monuments to the war dead, and woe betide any tourist who utters the name “Falklands.”
… for Now Anyhow
My friend Peter did some filming in the Falklands before the 1982 war, mostly of old sailing ship wrecks which had run aground there after Cape Horn storms. He told me that, although the Falklands are in some of the richest fishing waters on earth, the local English residents all prefer to eat mutton.
Who is right? England or Argentina? My preference goes to the Argeninians, though I doubt that the British would ever step down, especially as there is considerable oil exploration taking place.