Traveling History Lesson: Las Malvinas

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“What the hell is the big deal with the Falkland Islands?”

“Don’t call them that.” our friends in Salta said in unison.

Apparently it is quite the sore issue. We were encroaching on Dia de las Malvinas and like my ignorance of Lima, Peru, I had to find out what was going on.

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“To the heroes of the Malvinas: Movement for a national identity”

Las Malvinas/The Falkland Islands have been under the United Kingdom rule since they reestablished their reign in 1833. Over the next 150 years, the United Kingdom did try to make diplomatic negotiations with Argentina but, for various reasons, they all fell through. In 1982, Argentina decided to take them back.

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Now, here is where it gets interesting. Many people say they attacked to divert the attention away from the miserable economy at the time. From what I understand, it was a failboat mission to begin with. Not only did they only send a few hundred Argentine soldiers out there to take an island from the UK (umm… wow), but didn’t bother to really send reinforcements or many supplies during their winter months.

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WHY are these pictures in black and white? These were taken in 1982, not 1942. Oh yeah, they give them a sense of authority/realism when in B/W.

Needless to say the UK won in that situation and never bothered to really offer the islands back to Argentina. That, and well, people have been there so long under UK rule that they consider themselves British citizens and don’t want to be part of Argentina.

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Caption: 10:46 on that April 2nd. The soldier leads one of the many patrols. At the back, Saint Mary’s Catholic Church. At the front, a British car, with the driving wheel to the right, parked on the left, ready to drive that direction.

Argentina still holds that they have every right to Las Malvinas/The Falkland Islands and the current President Kirchner, vows to make it her topmost priority. Never mind the failing economy again (can we say another diversion?), but the islands must be theirs!

As of the most recent Americas Summit, Kirchner walked out as no one would take her claim on the islands seriously.

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The San Martin Park in Buenos Aires has a monument for the fallen soldiers (and their fallen lands) that is guarded by servicemen at all times along with a photographic “representation” put up during the observance time of the Las Malvinas war. My mouth was frothing at how amazingly the propaganda was digested so easily (and I do realize that BOTH sides have propaganda, it is just that this side was more readily available). As a media studies major, I could see right through it. Make sure to check out the captions on the pictures. There really are some interesting ones.

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The thing I find interesting about this is that they place the American flag for “English” rather than the internationally used British flag.

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The images of family are used to bring these images closer to home, to make the war more personal.

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Caption: This could have been anywhere in the country. At the bus terminal in the city of Junin, a mother and her daughter bid farewell to a loved one. They sense that he is going into the unknown.

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I felt really horrible because I guffawed out loud with these. Super over the top with the captions:

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Caption: An image that was hard on British pride.

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Caption: … Hands up, they march with indignation and rage.

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14 Responses to “Traveling History Lesson: Las Malvinas”

  1. Steph May 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    This is a fantastic explanation. I also was totally blown away by how big an issue this still is in Argentina today. Totally agree that it is a clever use of propoganda to rile people up and distract from real issues.

    It’s so over the top though! Even as we were driving to Mendoza there were random highway signs proclaiming “Las Malvinas Son Argentina!” You know, in case you forgot while you were driving.

    • Erica May 16, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      It was SO over the top I just had to post about it. It took me by surprised and definitely something people should know about Argentine culture before heading in.

  2. Steve Whitty May 11, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    The whole Malvinas/Falklands issues has been described as two bald men fighting over a comb. In truth it has nothing to do with the land. It is all about the natural resources underneath. Argentina will eventually get the islands but it will be a long time.

    • Erica May 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      That is the best analogy I’ve ever heard.

  3. crazy sexy fun traveler May 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    Many people have no idea about this history!

    • Erica May 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      I sure as hell didn’t. I just love that I’m learning more and more about the world we live in the more we travel.

  4. Goody May 15, 2012 at 5:17 am #

    Unfortunately so little has been told about this tragedy, but we should bear in mind what happened in order to prevent it happens again!

    • Erica May 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

      There are so many things the world needs to know about.

  5. richard May 15, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    I went to the Falklands a few years ago. As a Brit resident in South America I generally felt more sympathetic to the Argentine cause, but over time, after studying and then having visited, I lean back to the British element. Argentina’s economy is a shambles, crime rates are climbing, there appears to be no foreign policy aside from the Malvinas debate. There are natural resources of course down there, but, it is all smoke and mirrors. Had Galtieri not ordered the invasion the islands they would be back under Argentine sovereignty now. After the money invested by the UK in defense and infrastructure there is no chance of a lease back. Various points are overlooked, in an opportune fashion by the Argentine politicians, Chile, the US and others were all involved, but this is all conveniently overlooked. Read my piece on my visit here: http://www.richardmccoll.com/2012/03/02/tourism-kelpers-and-penguins-one-week-on-the-falkland-islands/

    • Erica May 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      Oh wow I can’t even imagine what it is like to be stuck in the middle like that. Thank you so much for your thoughts and post.

  6. Audrey | That Backpacker May 30, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    The islands are a huge deal in Argentina! When I went to school there as a child I was actually taught that they belonged to Argentina and not the British. Imagine my surprise when I learned that these history lessons had been wrong… 😐 haha

    • Erica May 30, 2012 at 10:56 am #

      Yeah, there were quite a few things I learned in American history that I’m still relearning.

      My highschool completely avoided talking about the Vietnam War. Oh and by we “warned” Japan about the bombs? They dropped pamphlets that said, “Stop, or else.” Somehow I don’t think THAT crossed their minds.

  7. Runaway Brit November 24, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    Yes, the whole Malvinas/Falklands issue was an interesting one when I travelled in Argentina last year. My surname is Thatcher… (no relation)

    • Erica December 1, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      Oh man. I had people “yelling” at me to keep it straight so I wouldn’t offend anyone. And good GOD I can only imagine the flack you got.

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