Argentina is to go to the polls on Oct. 27 with a Peronist politician backed by former Argentine president Cristina Fernandez expected to win an outright majority, something that has got Falkland Islanders worried.
The Falklands have been in British hands since 1833, but Argentina has waged a diplomatic battle — that spilled into economic and then actual warfare — since the 1960s to try to gain control of the archipelago.
Argentine troops invaded the windswept islands for 74 days in 1982 before Britain swiftly defeated them.
While few islanders believe their closest South American neighbor would invade again, it is the economic impact of another hostile government that concerns them the most.
“They do their best to upset our economy, putting all sorts of sanctions on various things and just being generally unpleasant,” said Shirley Hirtle, 76, who works at the Historic Dockyard Museum in the capital, Stanley.
Relations had improved since 2015 under the administration of Argentine President Mauricio Macri.
However, Peronist frontrunner Alberto Fernandez warned in a presidential debate on Tuesday that he wanted to “renew sovereignty claims” over the more than 750 islands — known as Las Malvinas in Spanish.
Asked about the potential return to power of a Peronist, Hirtle said she was “very angry about it.”
“They’re totally brainwashed from birth onwards. They rewrite their own history,” she said.
Hirtle pointed to the 2013 referendum in the Falklands where 99.8 percent of islanders voted to remain British.
Of the 1,517 voters, only three said “No,” while one ballot was invalid.
“In Argentina, I’m sure there are plenty of people who’d like to see an island have their own freedom and the right to their own self determination, but there are other people who don’t want that,” said Sally Heathman, 25, a communications and media assistant for the Falkland Islands government.
Britain has claimed the Falklands since settling the West island in 1765, while Argentina says it inherited the archipelago from former colonial power Spain, which invoked sovereignty in 1767 after purchasing a French settlement on the East island.
Under Cristina Fernandez, South America’s third-biggest economy made threatening noises regarding the Falklands’ main link with the outside world: a weekly flight to and from Chile’s capital, Santiago, which uses Argentine airspace.
With a second weekly flight from Sao Paulo in Brazil due to begin next month, a change of administration in Buenos Aires could put that at risk.
“I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was ... a problem with the second flight,” said Keith Heathman, 76, a driver for Battlefield Tours.
The flight from Santiago, through Punta Arenas on Chile’s southern tip, is operated by LATAM, which is organizing the Sao Paulo timetable.
Sally Ellis, 48, the Falklands agent for LATAM, says the Chilean-based company will not allow any mention of the islands in its inflight magazine.
There has been pressure to stop the flight, but it was “saber rattling,” Ellis said.
Many Argentines, such as 50-year-old Walter Goncalves, visit the Falklands to pay their respects at the Argentine cemetery near Darwin.
Goncalves braved the biting cold, wind, sleet and snow to hike key battlegrounds such as Mounts Longdon, Tumbledown and Two Sisters.
“I didn’t want to die without seeing them,” he told reporters.
“[Las] Malvinas is a battle that isn’t over for an Argentine,” Goncalves said.
“It’s a battle in which an Argentine will always try to have them recognized as Argentine, because they are Argentine,” he said.
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures