February 7th, 2012
07:15 PM ET

Argentina to file protest against Great Britain at U.N.

[Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET] Amid escalating tensions over the Falkland Islands, Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner accused Great Britain of militarizing the South Atlantic and said Tuesday her country would file a protest at the United Nations.

Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

"I have instructed our chancellor to formally present before the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly this militarization of the South Atlantic, which implies a great risk for international safety," she said during a speech in Buenos Aires.

"We're going to file a protest," Fernandez added.

READ FULL UPDATE

[Initial post, 12:14 p.m. ET] Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has announced plans for what local media are calling a major announcement Tuesday amid escalating tensions between Argentina and Great Britain over the Falkland Islands.

Kirchner is gathering ruling and opposition party politicians, diplomats and veterans from the 1982 war between Britain and Argentina over the South Atlantic islands, which Argentina calls Las Malvinas, the English-language Buenos Aires Herald reported. Her announcement is scheduled for 7 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET).

Speculation in recent days has been that Kirchner will cut the Falklands air link to the South American mainland by banning the airline LAN Chile from using Argentinian airspace to fly to the islands from Chile. The Saturday flights are the only scheduled air service to the Falklands and carry fresh food as well as passengers, Britain's Sky News reports.

Argentina already bans Falklands ships from its ports, an action joined by other South American and Caribbean nations.

"If the LAN Chile flight is cancelled, it would be pretty difficult to resist the already credible thesis that there is an economic blockade of the civilian population of the Falklands," a senior British diplomat in the region was quoted as saying by the UK's Guardian newspaper last week.

Though Britain won the 1982 war, expelling an Argentinian military force, Argentina still claims the territory, which has been under British rule since 1833, as its own. Britain maintains that the 2,500 residents of the Falklands have the right to determine their allegiance, and so far that has been staunchly British.

"We support the Falklands' right to self-determination, and what the Argentinians have been saying recently I would argue is actually far more like colonialism, because these people want to remain British, and the Argentinians want them to do something else," British Prime Minister David Cameron told UK lawmakers last month.

Tensions between London and Buenos Aires were raised even higher this month when Britain sent the second in line to the throne, Prince William, to the Falklands as a military helicopter pilot.

"Prince William is coming ... as a member of the armed forces of his country," Argentina's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. "The Argentinian people regret that the royal heir is coming to the soil of the homeland with the uniform of the conqueror and not with the wisdom of a statesman who works in the service of peace and dialogue between nations."

The prince's deployment comes as Britain is making other moves to support its 1,700 personnel at the Mount Pleasant military complex in the Falklands.

Britain is sending the sophisticated destroyer HMS Dauntless to the Falkland Islands.

The Royal Navy is sending its top-of-the-line warship, the destroyer HMS Dauntless, to the South Atlantic in the spring on what the British Defense Ministry calls a routine deployment, according to British media reports, including the BBC. Additionally, a British nuclear submarine is also headed to the Falklands, according to a report in the UK's Daily Mail.

So why, besides supporting the Falklands' inhabitants, does Britain want to hang on to the islands? There are lucrative fishing grounds around the islands as well as a growing oil drilling industry.

Argentina, of course, has economic interests, but analysts say the current standoff has much to do with internal politics.

"The government is being squeezed from lots of different areas, so one way to distract from the economic problems facing the country is to raise the Malvinas issue," Mark Jones, an expert in Latin American politics at Rice University in Texas, told CNN. "It's one of the few issues outside football that you can get universal consensus on."

And in Argentina, football, or soccer, is helping fuel the tensions.

When the season kicks off Friday in the top flight of Argentinian soccer, the league will be named Crucero General Belgrano (the cruiser General Belgrano) after the Argentinian warship sunk by a British submarine during the conflict 30 years ago. Argentina lost 323 sailors in the sinking, almost half of its total casualties during the war. Britain puts its casualties in the 74-day 1982 war at 255 troops and civilians.

In a report Tuesday on MercoPress.com, the South Atlantic News Agency said that Argentina's top soccer league is run by the government, which also owns its TV rights. All games are broadcast free, and advertising is often used to promote government programs, according to the report.

If the Argentinian government is pushing its Falklands claims on domestic TV, it's using a different media to put out a message in the Falklands themselves, according to Time.com. Islanders report receiving harassing phone calls, e-mails and even tweets, Time reports.

"It's intimidating to be woken in the night to someone shouting at you in Spanish," Lisa Watson, editor of the islands' newspaper The Penguin News, told Time.

Read and watch more CNN coverage of the Falklands:

Questions and answers on the Falklands tensions

The Falklands in photos high-res gallery

Venezuela, Bolivia leaders call for sanctions against Great Britain

No cancer found in Argentinian president

Argentinian president sworn in for second term

soundoff (589 Responses)
  1. WDinDallas

    Argentina was such a pretty place. I will miss it. Nuke'em Elizabeth!

    February 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. matt

    .......England...........Time to say GOODBYE.............

    February 7, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Sheepleherder

    Land has been taken by force since man first learned to beat each other on the head with rocks. EVERY country currently in existence has been won and kept by force of arms. Argentina lost ... at least twice now. They should quite crying and just invade Bolivia.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Big Kahuna

      Congrats – this makes sense, unlike the other nuthead comments here.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juan Malambo

      We no have any problem with ours brothers Bolivian, we no have any territorial conflict with any neighbor only with the Britons illegal immigrants in Las Malvinas ;)

      February 8, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
  4. rad666

    This is falked up.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Tom

    From Wikipedia: With the declaration that the islands were uninhabited, Argentina created a settlement that was headed by Commander Mestivie and Don Pinedo (later) in Nov 1832. It was after the formation of that settlement that the Brits came over and took advantage of their economic and military might to expel the Argentines in 1833. These islands do not belong to the British and the idea of current islanders having a right of self-determination is a fallacy.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • sparknut

      Then it's time for the Normans to get out of England since they forcibly invaded the land in 1066.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lila

      You skipped quite a bit of history to reach that portion.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • sparknut

      The point is that Tom wants to roll back nearly 180 years of history. Why stop there? Why not roll back to before 1066? Of course it's impossible.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The Big Kahuna

    Looks like Argentina wants thier butts kicked on a regular basis. Sad really – trying to deflrct from problems at home.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. sparknut

    Looks like I may have to stop drinking wine from Argentina. Of course the people who live there should decide which nation they belong to... let them be Brits if they want to be Brits.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Anonymous

    Do the people of the Falkland Islands realize that they are their own island, and shouldn't be under the rule of any nation? This is the 21st century, right?

    February 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Robert

    The United States stole Hawaii from the native Hawaiian people and annexed it. Natives and Asians were prohibited from voting. Let's allow native and Asian Hawaiians to take back their land, and let Agentina take back their Malvinas island.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Big Kahuna

      Put that to a vote nimrod.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Queen Liliʻuokalani

      Give the land back to the people.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The Big Kahuna

    Let's luv each other!

    February 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Ann

    Boy, this is a blast from the past...I'm flashing on Bloom County.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Dennis

    Not true.Your dumb comment was also posted.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Portland tony

      It's about the discovery of Oil and who can drill where. Britain could care less about English speaking inhabitants or quaint villages with a pub on every corner. They were forced out of Hong Kong, but will hang on to the Falklands...at least until the oil dries up.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dave

    If you look at images of Port Stanley it looks like a typical British town in the northern parts of their home country. Not a tanga club or a steak house to be seen. I bet you walk into any pub in Port Stanley and you'd think you were in the UK, warm beer fish and chips and Coronation street on the TV – so not sure how Argentine can says its theirs or ever was.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. tom

    If Argentina thinks they deserve and have a moral claim to the "Malvinas" then they should first give back all the land stolen from Paraguay in the War of the Triple Alliance! Argentina es ladrone!

    February 7, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. b

    I'm trying to figure out who had more plastic surgery, Nancy Pelosi or this Kirchner character.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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