Coffee House

Cristina Kirchner forgets the most important people in the Falklands row: the Islanders

3 January 2013

The British government has been gently rattling the bars in its stand-off with Argentina over the Falklands of late: giving the Queen a stretch of land in Antarctica which Cristina Kirchner’s government disputes the ownership of is one example. But today, ahead of a referendum in March for Islanders to decide whether they want the Falklands to remain under British sovereignty, Kirchner has upped the tension.

In a letter published as an advert in today’s papers, the Argentine President demands that the UK ‘abide by the resolutions of the United Nations’ to end colonialism and negotiate a solution to the sovereignty dispute over the Islands.

There’s a question about why Kirchner feels the need to buy this advertising space now, and the answer is that she is struggling a great deal with domestic policy in Argentina. Taking a stand on the Falklands is an easy way to distract voters for a little while. It’s also worth reading Graham Brady’s piece from May on Argentina’s credibility.

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Kirchner makes much of the ‘colonial history’ of the Falklands in her letter, which you can read in full below. She also insists that ‘the Question of the Malvinas Islands is also a cause embraced by Latin America and by a vast majority of peoples and governments around the world that reject colonialism’.

But what she fails to mention is that this Question isn’t embraced by arguably the most important group of people in this whole row: the Falkland Islanders themselves. It’s worth noting at this point, too, that it is the Falkland Islands government that runs the show in this British Overseas Territory, not Westminster. And the adverts don’t mention that Argentina hardly took the moral high ground by invading the territory in 1982.

The British government doesn’t plan to pour a great deal of resources into the referendum in March because it already knows how those who live there will vote: in favour of continuing British sovereignty. After that point, it will become even more difficult for Argentina to claim that regaining the Islands is simply an act of restoring territorial integrity.

Full text of Cristina Kirchner’s letter:

Mr Prime Minister David Cameron,

One hundred and eighty years ago on the same date, January 3rd, in a blatant exercise of 19th-century colonialism, Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands, which are situated 14,000km (8700 miles) away from London.

The Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule.

Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity.

The Question of the Malvinas Islands is also a cause embraced by Latin America and by a vast majority of peoples and governments around the world that reject colonialism.

In 1960, the United Nations proclaimed the necessity of “bringing to an end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations”. In 1965, the General Assembly adopted, with no votes against (not even by the United Kingdom), a resolution considering the Malvinas Islands a colonial case and inviting the two countries to negotiate a solution to the sovereignty dispute between them.This was followed by many other resolutions to that effect.

In the name of the Argentine people, I reiterate our invitation for us to abide by the resolutions of the United Nations.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
President of the Argentine Republic
Cc: Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

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Show comments
  • Worry

    Cristina Kirchner is trying to distract Argentinians from what is happening to their own economy. This is exactly what the former military junta did in the early 1980’s when it too faced a bad economy. It is notable that Kirchner has given the people who live on the Falkland Islands the least incentive to attach themselves to Argentina. Cristina Kirchner is a thug in the Peronist tradition. The Justicialist Party has been quite successful in acquiring and holding on to power, but that is where their abilities seem to end.

  • Drew Edward

    ‘It’s worth noting at this point, too, that it is the Falkland Islands government that runs the show in this British Overseas Territory, not Westminster.’

    David Cameron told voters in Scotland last year, you cannot call yourself British if you don’t have political union and representation at Westminster level. Would be interesting to see the reaction if he ever made that same argument in Stanley.

  • sunnydayrider

    At least someone apart from Red Ed reads The Guardian. Do they do a Spanish version?

  • NibleuNiRougeNiJaune

    Notes and corrections.

    Please note that an error was made in the translation of Ms de Kirchner’s
    letter. It should read as follows:

    ” “The 2500 people born and raised on the Falklands should be expelled and/or
    have their homeland annexed by Argentina. They have no right to
    self-determination because some Argentinians lived on these islands for a few
    years two hundred years ago. The rights of Argentinians from 200 years ago have
    more legitimacy than those people whose families have a 200-year continuous
    history on the islands. The British citizens of the Falklands should be
    expelled, forced to accept Argentine sovereignty or be turned into foreigners in
    the land they have always called home. The sole reason for this is that, after
    my ancestors had enslaved and/or murdered the indigenous people of South
    America, we managed to defeat the Spanish (from whom we are descended and who
    had originally encouraged us in our attempts to murder and pillage our way into
    possession of South American lands we had no right to). After we had used force
    to dispossess and eradicate the indigenous peoples of South America and used
    force to break our ties with Spain, the evil British used force to resume
    control of some islands directly (hundreds of miles) off our east coast. The
    imperialist pig-dog British were more powerful than the people we had previously
    conquered, dispossessed, enslaved and murdered, and they managed to take
    possession of this small portion of the land we had previously invaded and
    ethnically cleansed AND IT ISN’T FAIR. The British have shown that they are
    willing to spill blood to defend the islands so my government doesn’t feel able
    to invade and dispossess the Falkland islanders. They are more powerful (AND
    THAT ISN’T FAIR), so the very least they can do is stay quiet while I hurl abuse
    at them at every opportunity and try to do everything in my power to make life
    difficult for the Falkland Islanders. Anything any British politician says about
    Argentinia, the Falklands, South America or the Southern Hemisphere is a blatant

    • Colonel Mustard

      Oh don’t be so daft!

  • kmwilliams

    Can the islanders vote for independence (or, perhaps, a change of allegiance to Norway or somewhere) in the referendum? Or is it simply UK vs Argentina on the ballot? And has there been any word from Argentina on whether they will respect the outcome of the islanders referendum?

  • fitz

    … she’s the new BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN ….

  • fitz

    “” cc Banky Moon “” : hilarious …

  • ThatBenjaminGuy

    It would seem that her interpretation of the resolution that invites “the two countries to negotiate a solution to the sovereignty dispute” is really that Argentina should of course own the islands.

  • M. Wenzl

    For a second, I thought “She also insists that ‘the Question of the Malvinas Islands …'” said “She also insists that she is the ‘Queen of the Malvinas Islands'”.

  • barbie

    Argentina as massive debt problems, and debts she has defaulted on, including the UK. We do give them aid as well which adds salt to the wounds. It should cease until this woman keeps her mouth shut. The islanders will decide their own future as they should. I hope they vote to remain British. Of course the real reason this woman is making noises is the the oil exploration we are doing, she wants the oil under the sea for Argentina. But, it belongs to the Falkland isles. Who would trust a nation as this, invading once, using threats and blockades, language to cause hate, all to hype their own ends as Agentina sinks into rapid decline. Would it not be better to be peaceful and participate in things and perhaps share the wealth what might appear? Greed is still manifesting its self within this nation, before they caused many deaths, I hope they’ve learnt that war does not pay for anyone. No the islands have the right to detirmine their own destiny, it’s a pity we cannot do the same here.

  • Gold Bug

    Maybe Kirchner hasn’t got enough to do at home with destroying the currency, again, and generally raping the economy and stealing any wealth that the population is daft enough not to have hidden from the parasitic government. She is the epitome of a politician, lying, stealing, incompetent, corrupt and utterly lacking any conscience.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Well then, it sounds like she’s due for a Nobel or something.

  • mikewaller

    Most responses below are in the same vein as those of the American bozos who wanted Piers Morgan slung out of the US for saying things about guns they don’t want to hear. I should be very upset were the Falklands to be ceded to Argentina, partly because we paid heavily in blood to recover them and partly because of Argentina’s exceptionally poor record in managing its existing assets. However, giving the Guardian a kicking simply for facilitating free speech and then banging on about he rights of the Islanders is a daft response. What we ought to do is, in effect, is smile sweetly and say the issue should be discussed in a much wide context with all Argentinian frontiers being reviewed in relation to how they stood 200 hundred years ago. Given how much she has seized from neighbours in the intervening period, Argentina would not be very happy with that!

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Is there any chance that the Guardian and Independent can be censured or worse for publishing such dishonest propaganda?

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Does anyone really care what this pathetic despot and her hysterical bunch of reactionaries think? The Falkland Islanders will have their say and that will be final!

  • Walter Ellis

    It’ is perhaps worth nothing that Ms Kirchner, of German origin, is herself a colonialist. The Argentine population is 95 per cent ethnic European. The native people were mostly wiped out by the Spanish, who subsequently imported settlers from Spain itself, as well as Italy, the UK and – latterly – Germany (many of whom were ex-Nazis). None of this had much to do with the Falklands, which were obscure islands 300 miles away. For Ms Kirchner to present herself as a defender of the rights of native inhabitants (who in this case consider themselves British) is absurd.

  • Tarka the Rotter

    “…to end colonialism in all its forms…” Very good. Now, remind me, where did the Spanish speakers come from? Oh, yes, that’s right…SPAIN. Perhaps Cast Iron Dave would point that out to La Kirchner…

  • Momo

    The UK is in Europe, Las Malvinas are in South America, get out of our hemisphere. period.

    • Trofim

      That’s blatant hemispherism, and besides, the UK isn’t in Europe, or on it, it’s off the coast of Europe. By the way, what’s the menstrual cycle got to do with it?

    • Smartypants

      Most of the UK is in the western hemisphere, the same as the Americas, go check a map. If we are ending colonisation perhaps all of the European colonies of north and south America should leave, including Argentina. If the Brits are made to leave the Falklands & give it back to the penguins then the Argentinians should give their territory back to the Onas, the Yámana, the Tehuelches, the Guaraníes, the Toba, the Charrua, the Yaros, the Bohanes, the Chanás and the Querandí people. Oh sorry, they can’t as the Spanish Empire murdered most of them after it STOLE their lands. The hypocrisy of some of the Spanish speaking people of European descent in the Americas is breathtaking.

    • Dimoto

      Argentina is in the Americas.
      Britain and the Falklands (South Georgia, Tristan da Cunha, Saint Helena etc.) are Atlantic islands, leave our islands alone !

  • MacTurk

    Ms Kirchner is in deep brown stuff, in terms of domestic politics, hence the nationalistic rubbish.

    This is nothing but blowhard silliness, purely for domestic consumption. The Argentine Armed Forces are less capable than they were before the Falklands War. The navy lacks any effective amphibious capability, the air force has received no new aircraft since the end of the conflict, and flying hours are down. All the Argentine armed forces are starved of money and ammunition. They are, at the moment, simply incapable of mounting another invasion.

    And Ms Kirchner must know this. If she does, then she is a classic case of the Texan term “All hat, and no cattle”. If she does not, why then she is a fool.

  • Jabberwocky

    Mc’ Duff has his sporran in a twist hence the accent “hock aye ye dumb laddie” sooner ye go the better with that obese Salomon.

  • Roger Lorton

    History in a nutshell – well, OK, maybe a coconut shell –

  • Manuel

    Yes, in blatant disregard of the Monroe Doctrine…America for the Americans…oops…I meant the British…how about Northern Ireland? Scotland?

    • Wessex Man

      please expand

  • Trofim

    Britain acquired an extra 3.7 inhabitants during Nu Lab’s reign. Can’t we encourage emigration there?

    • NiBleuNiRougeNiJaune

      Why don’t you go first? We will send another 2.7 people to join you later.

  • Trofim

    Kirchner has that marvellous, mellifluous south-american indigenous ring to it, like Adolf Eichmann. Tupi-Guarani family?

    • chan chan

      Yes, I can see father now, running around Poland, or perhaps the Baltic states, with the 5th SS Panzer Division…

  • Daniel Maris

    What happens when Argentina finally manages to round up a Latin American posse to interdict shipping to and from the Falklands? These islands are a long way away and the chances of sending a second task force are slim now. A strike on the airport would presumably scupper the UK’s plans.

    I think we should seriously bring forward a co-dominium solution. West Falklands is virtually uninhabited. Let the Argentinians develop that part of the Falklands. Let’s share the mineral resources. Of course it would all need a completely cast iron guarantee, including over military movements etc.

    • Fergus Pickering

      A cast iron guarantee? From an Argentinian? You are joking.

      • Daniel Maris

        My cast iron guarantees are always backed up by firepower.

        You aren’t making the absurd claim that the Royal Navy could now defeat a Latin American naval posse are you? Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru…I am sure together they could see us off if they wished. If I was an Argentinian politician I would be doing everything possible to entice the Brazilians into such a scheme, including maritime concessions.

        I think this is an approach worth investigating. If the Argentinians are willing to play ball and make some concessions on Falkland Islanders’ right to self-determination and accept guarantors such as the USA and Brazil, I think rapid progress could be made.

        Whilst I have no problem with Mrs T standing up to the fascist junta we are where we are and I think our “obduracy” policy is silly and counter-productive (if we want to see the Falkland Islanders having a secure future, able to continue as a British community in that part of the world).

        The quid pro quo for a few Argentine flags flying here and there and allowing limited settlement of West Falklands by Argentina would be recognition of the right of the British community in the Falklands (east Falklands) to self-government under the terms of the co-dominium arrangements.

        I really think such an offer could produce a long lasting settlement. Or, if you are more cynically minded, it would completely wrong-foot the Argentinians.

        • Daniel Maris

          Thinking this through, I would say the offer should be:

          1. Acceptance that the Falklands/Malvinas are a South American territory with a dual Argentine and British character.

          2. In recognition of this dual character, the UK will accept the Argentinian claim to sovereignty subject to the Argentintians accepting the claims set out in 4 below.

          3. That West Falklands shall be ceded to the control of the Argentine government subject to its population not exceeding that of East Falklands by more than 20%.

          4. That the Falklands will be governed as a co-dominium with Argentina governing the West Falklands and the British Falklands community governing East Falklands under a UK Protectorate.

          5. Detailed agreement about flag locations and other symbols of sovereignty. (Eg. Argentinian and Falklands flags over Port Stanley at equal height etc)

          6. Agreement that the British Community will hold a referendum once every 15 years to determine whether they wish to join Argentina as a fully integrated element of that state or wish to retain their autonomous status under the treaty.

          7. Maritime resources to be shared equally between Argentina and the British Falklands community. Agreed share to be given to UK in recognition of its protecorate costs.

          8. Agreements on tourism, economic development, free trade, and joint enterprises.

          9. Agreement on naval/military dispositions. For first 20 years, no Argentinian naval vessels allowed at all.

          10. Guarantor declarations from USA and Brazil.

          Something like the above would be much better than the slow strangulation the British community on the Falklands is likely to experience.

    • Noa

      “…Let’s share the mineral resources…”

      Is that like sharing the proceeds of growth?

  • Stoneyjack

    Charming Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is smart, stylish, shapely & seductive. She is a fragrant, fashionable fearless feminist freedom fighter. She is politically powerful and very pretty. Mr. David Cameron must yield to her demands.

    • John

      To wordy, stupid bitch, looking to distract her own people from how fucked up the country is…

  • Rhoda Klapp

    So the islanders are to be consulted about a bunch of foreigners taking over the islands. By the UK government, no less. Wooden tit bean ice if we in these islands were to get the same consideration? Curse the voice reco.

    • Span Ows

      very good, is that CFK’s nickname of what she rubs on her face?

  • mr.blobby

    Ha ha! Oh, you’ve gotta laugh at the Argies, ain’tcha? Total desperation. And here’s my favourite comment at the Guardian:

    “I say give the Falklands/ Malvinas (and all their potential mineral wealth) to the penguins and albatrosses that make up the majority of their truly indigenous population, in perpetuity.

    Set up a trust, and charge any human being who wants to live, work or start businesses on the archipelago, rent. Use the revenues to fund Antarctic conservation projects and campaigns against climate change.”

    I don’t know what’s funnier – this or Kirchner.

  • james harries
  • lala43434

    I can’t help but get angry whenever I hear her name mentioned. What part of ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom of choice’ does she not understand? The Islanders have chosen to stay as a British Territory. If she’s kicking up such a fuss about land 8500 miles away…Think of the fuss that Alex Salmond COULD kick up if he lost his referendum.


    When Scotland gets her freedom in 2014, Gibralter, Falkland Islands and Ulster will be next on the list. Bye bye Britain.

    • Macky Dee

      If people leave Britain, it’s Bye Bye them. Not us!

    • blingmun

      Don’t really understand your point – Scotland will rightly have a referendum on independence next year and the vote could go either way. The Falklander’s will have a referendum in March and if the polls are to be trusted the result will be 95 percent in favour of remaining British.

      Britain will exist as long as people want it to. Rumours of our demise are exaggerated.

    • vieuxceps2

      You write of Scotland’s “freedom”.Whose prisoner are you?

    • Stuart Eels

      When Scotland gets her freedom, you’ve got a nerve two of the last Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom have been Scottish born and the other, the current wank that occupies 10 Downing Street, boasted that he is proud of the Scottish blood pounding through my veins, yes all his grandparents are Scottish it seems. We the United kingdom have done really well since 1997 haven’t we?

      If Scotland wants her freedom why is the support of the yes vote hanging around the 30% mark. That means to me that seven out of ten Scots “wish to remain prisoners, ah well dream on and watch you don’t trip over with that large chip on shoulder affecting your balance!

    • Andy

      Bye bye the Labour Party. Without Scotland they will never form another Government in England. Thanks be to God.

  • alexsandr

    i would have thought the suitable response from HMG to this rant would be a simple hyphenated obscenity, one of the words being ‘off’ Not diplomatic but to the point.

    • Austin Barry

      Cameron should respond with some imaginative, classic Spanish invective such as:

      “Yo cago en la leche de tu puta madre.”

      Christina’s response would be eagerly awaited.

      • SpanishCursing

        If you must post obscenities in Spanish, please get them right. It’s

        Me cago en la leche…

        That sentence would not be said in Spanish. Try:

        Me cago en la puta madre que te parió.

        • Span Ows

          Or if this was a Spanish film subtitle to what you just wrote it would be “rayos”.

  • James

    I hope the newspapers running the advert were paid in cash. One would not wish to be a creditor to Argentina, now or ever…

  • ComcBookGuy
  • TRAV1S

    Hope the Guardian is happy with it’s thirty pieces of silver from Ms Kirchner.

  • Jamiesha
  • Bluesman

    Citizen Hardman, Kirchner has not forgotten the islanders, she just chooses to ignore them. It has been a habit of Argentinian governments to ignore “little people”; except, of course, when courting popularity or rounding them up.


      What is the extent of Argentinian trade with the UK? What aid is provided to Argentina? What debts are outstanding?

      What indeed is the Government doing to show Argentina that we do actually mean that we will stick by the Falklands for ever?


        Answered my own question…

        They owe us £45 million for a loan we gave them to help arm themselves ready for the invasion of the Falklands!

        One pressure group wants to forget the debt. I don’t see how this is reasonable if Argentina continues to make threats against British territory and people.

  • Boule De Suif

    We should agree to give up the Falklands if she gives up the Botox.

  • Colonel Mustard

    I hope that the UN examines with equal scrutiny the activities of the New Labour government with respect to the sovereignty and rights of the indigenous English people from 1997-2010.


      I agree 100%. There is clearly a process of genocide taking place according to the UN definitions. It is continuing to take place.

    • barbie

      Is there any way we as a nation can force them to look at it? Just a thought.

    • NiBleuNiRougeNiJaune

      Oh don’t be so daft!

      • Colonel Mustard

        You think? Maybe you should read the UN’s own declarations on the subject. Of course I understand that in the glorious Peoples Democratic Republic of ‘One Nation’ Britain the track record of the previous New Labour government is exactly what its members and adherents say it is, no more and no less.

        And in your case I see that old rouge is a bit more evident than the bleu ou jaune, eh?

        • NiBleuNiRougeNiJaune

          Just because someone (e.g. I) is not a member of you tin-foil-hat brigade doesn’t necessarily mean they are a Labour voter.
          Do you ever worry that phrases like “Peoples (sic) Democratic Republic of ‘One Nation’ Britain” make you seem a bit mental? Or do you somehow take pride that you are a maverick? You actually just sound like a Clarkson-calibre pub bore.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Daft. Tin-foil hat. A bit mental. Maverick. Clarkson-calibre pub bore. Do you ever get beyond the abusive clichés when stalking the comments of people you disagree with?

            Correction. Apparently you do. How long did the “translation” take you to write? And you think I’m a bit mental? Sheesh!

  • Colonel Mustard

    The mad woman Kirchner paints a dishonest picture of an Argentine identity in 1833 given that the country was not unified until after 1862 and their own “post-colonial” wars of extermination and appropriation against genuinely indigenous peoples lasted well into the 1870’s.

    But it is surprising that British newspapers printed this nonsense. Their appetite for mischief and self-hatred seems to know no bounds.


      Would the Guardian print a letter from Stephen Lennon aka Tommy Robinson? Even if paid handsomely to do so? Probably not.

      Self-hatred is a twisted, destructive form of the virtue of humility. A demonic counterfeit. In the name of self-hatred there are those on the left, itself a counterfeit of Christianity, who would willing abandon and destroy everything that our civilisation stands for and has created.

    • El_Sid

      Later than that – down in Patagonia they were hunting “Indians” for sport within the last 100 years.
      The fact is that Argentina is so broke the bailiffs have been seizing their naval ships when they make trips abroad. Argentina makes Greece look like a picture of economic health – no wonder they’re stooping to this kind of desperate level.


    I don’t think that Cameron, Clegg et all can be trusted an inch with the Falklands. What is required is a constant expression of our connection with the Islands and Islanders by sending out teams of committed young people to work there for 6 months doing useful work for the environment and the local community.

    The X-Factor generation is easily swayed by PR. We cannot expect the same resolution and determination from those who have never known a war which directly affected our own people. If David Cameron cares nothing for our own sovereignty we can be sure he cares nothing for the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands beyond whatever immediate advantage he thinks it gives him.

    • barbie

      No but Cameron might call in the debt from Argentina it owes us some 45 million or more, not to sure, they owe many others just as much. Its all to deflect from their financial woes which are increasing by the day. Her days are numbered.

  • Andy

    She does talk a lot of balls. The Falkland Islands were British before Argentina even existed. The only ‘Colonialists’ I can see here are the Argentinians.

    Kirchner is a very silly and stupid woman.

    • emiller7

      I agree!

  • HJ777

    You fail to point out that the assertions that Ms Kirchner makes about the history of the Falkland Islands are verifiably historically inaccurate.

    The islands were already British territory. Permission to settle on the islands was granted by the British consulate – and all that was subsequently expelled was an illegal Argentine garrison. Settlers were free to stay – and most of them did.

    What is more, Britain has twice offered to have the matter resolved by the International Court – on each occasion, Argentina declined to have its claims legally tested. This tells you all you need to know about the validity of Argentine claims.

    • Jamiesha

      I agree entirely. Also, the UK has offered to resolve the issue at the International Court on 3 occasions: 1947, 1948 and 1955.

      • Daniel Maris

        I bet they wouldn’t make that offer now.

  • Colin

    Desperate stuff, and that’s just the pro argentine puff piece in the New Beano, aka the guardian.

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