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. Canuck

    Maybe the rest of the commonwealth should get together and ban Argentinian commerce and flights. What a bunch of idiots. I mean seriously...The have zero claim. The people who live on the Falklands have the absolute right to choose their affiliation, and it's clearly not with with Argentina. The only thing these two nations have in common, is geographic distance, and even that's a bit of a stretch.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. PraiseTheLard

    I have a bit of news for you... not "everyone" knows that... or thinks they "know" that... Study a bit of history...

    February 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • tim08

      History (and news by default) is way over-rated. I simply project opinion as fact. I find life much easier when I am always correct

      February 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Phil in KC

    Since 1833? And the people have voted to remain British? Sounds to me like it's time for Argentina to give up. They really don't have a basis for a claim. Their actions are tantamount to a blockade, which is an act of war. Does Argentina really think it can win another war? They lost once before and they would lose again.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. benji

    Bye Bye Argentina!

    February 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SherwoodOR

    There comes a certain point, a 180 years is certainly beyond that point, where you just have to accept the status quo. 180 years is 7 or 8 generations. These people have been British all of their lives, their parents were British, their grandparents were British, their great-great-great-great-great-grandparents were born and lived their entire lives as British. And, most importantly, they, themselves, want to remain British.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave

    The islanders have lived there for many generations, and they want to be British. What happened in 1833 is no longer relevant. If the islanders wanted to be Argentinian, that would be different, but they don't. Let the people decide, not the politicians.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mike

    The decision should be up to the Islanders. Anyone else shouldn't care because it doesn't involve them. If they do, then its because they have other interests than the well being of the Island and its inhabitants and should not be trusted anyway.

    Way she goes.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pete

    These islands have no value for Britain and its claims for severeignity are dubious, at best.
    Economically a good commercial and diplomatic relationship with Argentina and Brazil as far more valuable for England than keeping a contested rule over those remote islands.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bonez

      Britain values the 2500 British citizens who have called the Falklands home..... there is not a single Argentine who has ever called the Falklands home.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Malcolm

      There is nothing dubious about Great Britain's claim to sovereignty – having been British territory for nearly 200 years – and the islanders wish it to remain so. Aside from that, then of course the Falklands have value for Britain, with the natural resources as already described in the article. The Argentinians have no right to the Falkland Islands at all.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      There is nothing ‘dubious’ about Britain’s claim on the Islands. And I would say they have a vested interested in those islands considering the inhabitants ARE British and from the other articles I’ve seen do not want to leave British rule. But I see your point.. its contested…so they should just give them the islands. Right after they give Ireland back N. Ireland right?

      Argentina is about to get smoked.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • indyfan2

      1. its been a British Islands for over 2 hundred years.
      2. It was disputed in 1982, the British prevailed.
      3. Argentina would do well to consider assistance from the U.S.
      4. There is oil in the area.

      February 7, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • ComSenseWiz

      Alleged value to whom is a moot issue. The Falklands has always been British land and always will be since the Republic of Argentina was founded in 1853 whether Argentina likes it or not. Most importantly, the citizens of the Falklands overwhelmingly prefer British affiliation, and definitely not affiliation with Argentina and that my friends is the bottom line. Get used to that reality no matter how much Argentina whines about it.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NYC

      Wah, wah wah ...... neighbor's property USED to be part of my property 200 years ago. I swear my neighbor's ancestor just took, therefore, my neighbor should just give it back to me!!!!!!

      February 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • James Black

      Pete. Read some history. Great Britain has been in the Falklands much longer than Argentina existed.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Johnnie

    Like Gibraltar, the residents of the Falklands have consistently - for longer than anyone commenting here has been alive - to remain a British protectorate. Many of us look at history and see the conquest of the Dutch, French, Spanish and British empires as dubious at best. But consider there are 54 countries in the British Commonwealth, all allowed to govern themselves. Much of that self-governance started well before WWII, some even in the 1800's. Say what you want about the British Colonial policies of 2 centuries, but the inhabitants of those territories today are doing well, under their own governments, just because the Brits allowed it to progress that way.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Michae1Hawk

    While the UK is at it, I hope they the World's 100 Billon dollars back.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laugh@Micheal1Hawk


      February 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. max

    Es una verguenza, en el 2012 todavia estamos hablando de unos abusadores colonizadores, que se regresen a inglaterra y invadan una isla europea, esto es sur america, porfavor apelen a la logica, esas islas geograficamente son argentinas.. no veo porque habria que hacer una nueva guerra, en las guerras nadie gana

    February 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob


      February 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NYC

      Lo siento amigo, pero la guerra de las Malvinas han sido Británicos desde hace 200 años. Nadie en la isla quiere ser argentino. Lidiar con él!

      February 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jeff

    It is hard to swallow a British person calling Argentina's claims over an island that is off its shores colonialism. How far is Britain again? The 2,500 residents are rich, retired Brits who use the island as their private Hawaii. Argentina wants the island to run as its own tourist resort.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Oldsod

      Jeff, thats nonsense. The islanders are mostly descendants of sheep farmers, fisher folk etc. Have you seen the place? It is not an ideal holiday destination or somewhere wealthy ex-pats would retire to. Its is nothing like Hawaii,... maybe you are thinking of Bermuda or British Virgin Islands? If the ordinary families living on these islands for GENERATIONS want to remain connected to the UK, as opposed to Argentina (who is over 300 miles away), who are you to tell them otherwise?

      February 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laugh@Jeff

      get your fact straight before posting please.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • blursd

      Rich retired Brits ... the Falklands a tourist destination? Do you know ANYTHING about these islands. Or let me restate that ... from your comments it's obvious you know NOTHING about the islands.

      If the Falklands are a prime tourist destination, then Death Valley is a tropical paradise ...

      February 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      Its delightful if you like sheep, and long walks where you can step on old landmines.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Fredflintstone

    Really again............guys please.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      This should be fun.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ml

    Argentina supported the Nazis during WW ll and opened their doors for hundreds of them after the war incl Mengelle and Eichmann. The world operates under a system of laws. Argentina can claim anything they want. Britain has 11 submarines, Argentina has 2. Good luck with that.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BigRd

    The Brits only know about force... as they tried to pull the same thing with the Chinese over Hong Kong.. which they took control via the unjust treaties from the Opium Wars. In that case, China had Deng who openly threatened Thatcher and set a hard deadline to reach an agreement... with many troops bordering HK – the Brits had not choice. Unfortunately for Argentina – Falklands is an island... where the British have all the advantage.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bonez

      What alternate reality do u live in? The agreement was a lease signed 99 years ago. Their were no threats against Britain via the Chinese, in fact, the Chinese came in and decided to keep Hong Kong as a free trade zone based on the UK model. It was the most amicable turn over of all time.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarcV

      Your statement is factually wrong. The British had a 100 year lease on Hong Kong that expired in 1997. They had no choice but to negotiate a return to China. The Falkland Islands were never leased from anyone. They are just like the British Virgin Islands and other British territory.

      Should we just give Guam or American Samoa to the Phillippines since they are physically closer than the continental U.S.?

      February 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      The advantage? An 8000 long mile supply line? You need to read some history.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
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