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.


[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:

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/02/01/qmb-intv-rising-falklands-tension.cnn"%5D

Questions and answers on the Falklands tensions

The Falklands in photos high-res gallery

Venezuela, Bolivia leaders call for sanctions against Great Britain

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2012/02/01/pkg-foster-falklands-prince-william-duty.cnn"%5D

No cancer found in Argentinian president

Argentinian president sworn in for second term

soundoff (588 Responses)
  1. Greek American

    When Sara Palin heard about this problem she decided to offer her help. She said she had deep feelings for these people because she can see the Falkland Islands when she looks out the window of her Alaskan home.

    February 8, 2012 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Majav

    That Argentina would bog down the UN when it is dealing with crises in Tibet, Palestine, and Syria is deplorable. No Falklander or Argentine is suffering, because of this ancient (and unimportant) border dispute. Falklanders pay no taxes and they are spoilt silly with UK support. Argentines should focus on their livelihoods and neighborhoods.

    Kirschner clearly has had too much cosmetic surgery and this is a metaphor for her and her country. The Falklands/Malvinas issue is a cosmetic issue that has nothing to do with reality. Kirschner and all Argentines should focus on their heart- Buenos Aires is in a sad state of disrepair. Poverty abounds. Fix that and forget LOST Malvinas.

    A word to the UK. Get that royal back to his castle! I am ready for a British Republic. The UK is so 19th century!
    Both countries need to grow up and get a life.

    Barring that, could you put Piers Morgan in a uniform and send him down there to clean latrines? CNN viewers would be sooooo grateful.

    February 8, 2012 at 4:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Boovis

      It's so 19th century to have a royal family? Is that why, out of the top ten countries with the highest Human Development levels, there are only 3 republics and the rest either have their own royal family or subjects of another? Do some research before you post.

      February 8, 2012 at 5:57 am | Report abuse |
  3. Boovis

    Using the logic of the detractors of the previous UK policies during their empire building days, the 13 colonies of the USA were also founded by British colonialists so if you feel so bad about this policy maybe you should return the east coast to the indigenous people that were there before you, or is it one rule for one, one for another?
    Also, if people find placing colonists in foreign lands miles from their own and claiming it so deplorable, then maybe we should empty South America too and return it to the amerindians. Argentina already tried to wipe these people out, twice, in the 19th century, but hey that's ok because... why exactly? The leader of Argentina has a half german half spanish name, what does that tell you?!

    February 8, 2012 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. propounder

    the UK need to get the hell out of argentina the folklands is so far away from britain it can never be their territory beside stop bluffing argentina with your worthless conoe you call top of the line bull crap

    February 8, 2012 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Boovis

      ...and the USA can leave Hawaii too. In fact, withdraw all troops from any country not within 200nm of your borders, or is it ok for the US to spread it's influence but not anyone else because "you know best"?

      February 8, 2012 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  5. A North American

    It's 2500 people, what does Argentina care about it? It's not a geographical obstacle, it's not a tactical liability, nor is it a threatening oppressive power, if they don't speak Spanish in the island, chances are the Argentinians are full of it. It's not colonial expansion, it's been under British rule since 1833, and NOW in 2012 they want to throw a fit about it? Seems rather suspicious. The British colony was British (landed in 1766) before the Argentinians were Argentinian (Independence, 1816) so what's the hold up?

    On another note, i applaud the British on the Scottish referendum, it makes me proud as an ally of their great nation to see them standing as a beacon of progress for us to follow.

    February 8, 2012 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      Oil was discovered recently.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. leigh

    Ask yourself this why it has taken Argentina so long after the end of the Falkland’s war to reignite this debate over who owns the islands. Simple this has only just reignite because they think there is oil their. Why is the rest of South America suddenly supporting Argentina now when they did not during the last war, because they think they will benefit from any oil found there if Argentina owns the islands?

    Secondly Argentina makes a noise about the Falkland’s when internal politics is going bad for who ever is in power. Why should Britain give in to Argentina whose government does not care what the people who live there think and may I add during the last war had a government whose polices were questionable with death squads roaming the country killing at will.

    I think that they should respect the islander’s wishes. As for going to the UN crying who started the argument by enforcing an unofficial none sanctioned blockade of the islands Argentina that who.

    February 8, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. ♔Mmmmm♕

    interesting that chavez can excite fernandez of kirchner with such intimate whispering...the queen should be able to satisfy such an abominable encounter with a falkland foot up both their behinds and a british punch to chavez's mouth...where one won't have so much to say and the other won't have so much to listen...

    February 8, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    The Falklanders want to remain British Subjects.
    Therefore, it should be a moot point.
    All of this ridiculous posturing is just that: posturing.
    The question is: who are they trying to impress?

    February 8, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
  9. alex

    This is the dumbest war to fight if it comes to that. Does anybody ask what the people of the falklands want? Why dont we let them decide. They say argentina then argentina it is. They say britain then britain it is. They say independence then independence it is.

    You know how I know civilization hasn't evolved that much since the beginning of time. By looking at world leaders and politicians.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      They want to remain British subjects.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Obvious troll is obvious.

    February 8, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. Noocrat

    If the majority of the people wish to remain British, I don't see why there is even a discussion. The people have spoken, now be adults about it and move on.

    If that changes in the future, address it then.

    February 8, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
  12. Tent

    And the UN is going to send Arab League observers in response. OK.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. David

    This all about Man City holding Carlos Tevez hostage. 🙂

    February 8, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Politia

    Argentinians are mostly descendants of Portuguese or Spanish colonialists , so what the hell is she complaining about

    February 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Traver

      I am not a British citizen, but I tell you this because I live in London. British people I have met are all peace-loving. What the British government is doing is against this and it is taking actions that do not represent their citizens' will, at all. If you are wondering what the argentine president is complaining about, I would like to ask you, would you not complain if another country sends a nuclear submarine right in front of your country? Do you think it would affect your economy positively? The message is clear – British government should stop pretending hypocritically that their intention is to protect the folklanders. They only want to protect the powerful minority interests of military companies and oil companies!

      February 9, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Enrico

    I am Italian, so dont get me wrong, I just say what I see. The point is that Argentina feels strong and wants to invade a place inhabited by BRITISH people. Falkland islands have been argentineans for just 8 years from 1825 to 1833. Before then, it was a Spanish dominion and after 1833 it has been British. It is like Austria wanted back northen Italy because was part of the Asburgic Empire, forgetting the point that northen Italy is inhabitated by Italians.

    85% of the population belong to the British culture. During the Argentinean military occupation people from Falkland refused to speak Spanish and kept driving on the left breaking the Argentinean law. They should have a referendum there, you would see that that's British land. It is also a sign that the West is losing importance and new powers are going to expand, which is good as long as there are no wars. i hope common sense will prevail and Argentina will stop its blocage harming (a lot) the people they say they want to set free.

    February 11, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
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