The ages old dispute between Argentina and Britain over Las Malvinas, or the Falkland Islands, has again broken loose with heated debate and rash actions on part of the more passionate crowds. Just yesterday, protesters became rioters in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires after they started to attack the United Kingdom embassy. Molotov cocktails, rocks and other objects were thrown about while effigies of Cameron burned as clashes between riot police and the rioters continued.
Tensions soon heightened after British Prime Minister David Cameron made a “controversial” speech on the 30th anniversary of Argentina’s 1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands.
In his statement, Prime Minister Cameron said that Britain was “proud of the role Britain played in righting a profound wrong.”
The prime minister then said that his country “remains staunchly committed to upholding the right of the Falkland Islanders, and of the Falkland Islanders alone, to determine their own future”, which referred to the fact that an overwhelming majority of the 3,000 or so Falkland inhabitants wish to remain British.
Of course, officials from Argentina and its allies on the matter including Venezuela criticized Cameron’s speech as “colonialism talk” or imperialist talk.
Historically, the Falkland Islands were indeed settled and colonized by European powers but were “shuffled” between multiple sides until a British garrison in 1833 essentially forced an Argentinian garrison to leave.
The dispute is surprisingly “recent” in that the country of Argentina didn’t actually pursue sovereignty over the islands until around the time the United Nations was just starting out.
The Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands occurred in 1982 under the guidance of a military dictatorship that had taken power in the South American country.
The military conflict itself lasted for roughly 74 days until the British military emerged bloodily victorious with 255 deaths on its side while Argentina’s military lost 649 troops.
Three local inhabitants were also unfortunately killed during the conflict.
Now, that military conflict itself, the boost of nationalism and the deserved criticism of European colonialism within both Argentina and the international community have led to the current predicament with the occasional “freak-outs” over Britain sending a naval vessel (sometimes with a royal family member) or troops to the Falkland Islands.