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.

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[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. Defender

    The tone of the CNN story is so obviously biased. Questions such as, "Why does Britain want to 'hang on' to the Falklands?" are so loaded when followed by information about natural resources. The story is SO simple: As long as the islanders want to remain with Britain, they should be allowed to remain with Britain. If they choose to go with Argentina, then Britain would make it happen – as they have done elsewhere in the world. Americans should ask themselves, how would they feel if a Caribbean or South American country laid claim to the US Virgin Islands? Or Puerto Rico? Wouldn't the answer be the same? Let the people decide!

    February 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      Actually lets be honest here. If there are natural resources to harvest of course the UK wants the rights to do so. The fact that the claim is pretty solid as well is just sauce for the goose.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bob

    One of the Brits warships could level both countries lol Try again!

    February 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Portland tony

    So the Falklands are the last vestiges of the once great British Empire.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • jo an

      What a sad way to end the British Empire....

      February 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.Orsini

      You are forgetting Gibraltar, which is actually IN Spain, it isn't an island. Another territory that the Brits refuse to let go.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bonez

      Mor: um, Blair tried to enter into negotiations with the Spanish and had such a backlash from the residents of Gibraltar that he withdrew.... quite simply put, Gibraltar has no desire to be Spanish.
      As for the British Empire, it morphed into the largest economic block in the world (called the commonwealth). As for overseas possesions, Britain has far more than just Gibraltar or the Falklands, perhaps u have heard of the British Virgin Islands? Bermuda? Cayman Islands?

      February 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NYC

      You are correct Orsini ... Gibralter IS in Spain, however, no on that lives IN Gibralter wants to be Spanish! They are quite content to be a British protectorate.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      By that same rationale Ceuta and Melilla (spanish colonies in Morocco) should be given back to Morocco and the Canary Islands as well. he world is littered with territotories that belong to countries further removed geographically than other countries. So what. Argentinians have never lived in the Falkland Islands and it was a British Colony before Argentina existed as a Republic. This is a pathetic attempt by the Argentinian Govt to distract their people from their domestic issues and because they would like a shot at some oil. It's ours...you lost a war over it....sod off.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Isis

    Argentinos petulantes arrogantes, el principe tiene todo el derecho de ir a FALKLANDS vestido como se le de la gana, para empezar no esta pisando tierras argentinas ya que la isla no pertenece a Argentina.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Capitan Justicia

    They're so stupid one of them is the richest man in the world.

    February 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. The Sprit of Margaret Thatcher

    Imagine if the nationality of every land were adjusted back to 1832.

    If the Argentines want to turn back the clock, why not turn it all the way back. All person's of Spanish decent must leave Argentina and it must be handed back over to the natives.

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

    Listen, Argentina: Give it up. Cheap political stunt.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. gerry

    I believe that before the war no one in the UK was bothered. Now soldiers have died that is the end of the matter. If it means another war, so be it.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chris

    And what about Hawaii? America should give that up according to your thoughts. It is the right of the people of the Falklands Island to whom they would belong.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Laugh@Jeff

    That is why our dollars are so weak to the British pounds.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. palintwit

    When Sarah Palin heard of these latest tensions between Britain and Argentina, she volunteered to intervene. She's on her way to Britain right now with mooseburgers and a plate of s'mores for the queen.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Unit34AHunter

    The Falklands have been British by legal agreement with Spain (back when Spain ruled Argentina) for 200+ years. The current Agitation is merely the Argentinians once again trying to distract their citizens from the domestic messiness resulting from decades of poor administration by ratcheting up the hype over the Falklands.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jumbotron

      Exactly as the article said...

      February 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      If the UK had kept the US Virgin islands and you had a bunch of britons in there saying they are british, would you have the same opinion of the matter?

      February 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • dogamus

      Ed, the UK never colonized the US Virgin Islands. They were originally Danish. But then they don't teach history in US schools.

      February 7, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neeely

      Amazing thinking and logic in the 21st century. So two European countries colonized and divided among themselves areas in the southern hemisphere 300 years ago and we all should be ok with that???

      February 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neeely

      dogamus, "UK never colonized the US Virgin Islands. They were originally Danish"? How about they originally belong to their native people.

      February 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mike Johnson

    ...well ... if the Argentinians are up to it ... let's have another fight. That could take a whole Monday afternoon ....

    February 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      Can we do it on a non-Premier league day, I don't want the matches interrupted ....?

      February 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zwei Stein

      In '82, Britain had it's hands full. Matter of fact, they were getting their but ts handed to them, untill Reagan (reluctantly at first) agreed to help the Brits with an AWACS and other very critical support.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      @Zwei Stein You're joking, right? The Argies might talk a good game but when it comes to fighting they don't have the stomach for it. Just what "other very critical support" are you talking about? Dream on!

      February 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • dogamus

      Reagan "reluctantly" agreed ? Not what I recall. He and Maggie were birds of a feather, he gave her mid-air refuelling, air to ship missiles and an whole bunch of logistics.

      February 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zwei Stein

      Yeah...the reluctance lasted only for a couple or three days, while the Brit ships were being "hammered" with Chinese Silkworm missiles. They couldn't shoot down the Argentine planes (made by us.) But we knew how.

      February 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • DetroitATP

      Zwel Stein, they were French Exocet missiles. They sunk a few British ships, but the Fleet Air Arm Harriers gave the Argentine air force a hammering in kind. We gave the Brits some Sidewinders and Satellite imagery. The French were bullied by Thatcher into giving details of the Exocet in order that she wouldn't nuke Buenos Aires. Today's war would be a different animal altogether. The Royal Navy's HMS Dauntless could wipe out the entire Argentinian air force with relative ease. Not to mention the Eurofighters and 1000+ troops stationed at Mt. Pleasant airfield as well as AWACs and Reaper UAVs that the Brits now operate. They have a battle hardened military from 11 years in Afghanistan. There are probably British Special Forces and intelligence agents already scouting airfields and dockyards in Argentina just in case they are stupid enough to try anything. Either way the Argentines have no claim. If the Falklanders want to remain British so be it.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Bill

    This is mostly posturing by Argentina anyway, but they should be civilized enough after all these years to allow the residents to have their say about which way this goes. I guess the prince's presence re-kindled old animosity but it's the 21st century and Argentina would be better off – and look like they are actuially part of the community of nations – if they'd do the right thing here and let a referendum prevail and then make a big deal out of their "emancipation", etc.

    February 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike in NYC

      They don't want that because they know that the residents of the Falklands want nothing to do with Argentina or their government.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • RockoT

      I can't agree – an economic blockade is not merely posturing. Blockades are considered acts of war.

      Even if for diplomatic reasons one would ignore that its an act of war – the very serious problem of getting food to the island will have to be overcome – probably at great expense.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • J.C.

      Rocko, cutting off air traffic from your country to another country isn't a blockade (otherwise the U.S. would be blockading Cuba). Surrounding the Falklands with ships to prevent all sea and air traffic into the Falklands would be a blockade.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rm Guest

    come on ... it's 2012 negotiate and give it up, it is half a world away from you Brit's and you would never accept a nation half a world away from you on islands right next to you – would you? Work it out peacefully, negotiate and give up the colonial mentality that YOU own it. Thanks for listening.

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

      Should the US give up Alaska, or Puerto Rico?

      February 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • ReadTheArticle

      The vast majority of the people in the Falklands want nothing to do with Argentina; but you would just hand them over anyway? Wow. How about we let the Falklands determine their own destiny? If they want a close relationship with Britain, it should be their call.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff in Seattle

      Rm, you just do NOT get it. The residents of the islands, most of whom have roots there going back 150 years and more, should the ones to make the call on this.

      The residents. Not the respective governments.

      How would YOU feel if YOUR town got turned over to a foreign government, who spoke a foreign language, and had a MUCH lower standard of human rights? I would bet that you would be pleanty ticked!

      February 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Neeneko

      Ahm.. the people living there consistently want to stay British.. so this is not the UK imposing its colonial will on some remote island.. it is the island asking for help defending itself from being invaded by a hostile neighbor who has decided they want it.

      February 7, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • intruth23

      What I find interesting is that Britain gave up Hong Kong to China. Nope they would not fight another nuclear power over that piece of Land. Argentina however is still no match for Great Britain! None the less if the people of the Fauklands do not want Argentinian control then it should stay British. Argentina needs to just get over it. But most of Hong Kong wanted to stay British too. Hmmmm!

      February 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
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