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Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 17.03.2012 (Article Archived on 31.03.2012)

The popular BBC World Service programme, “World Have Your Say” has come to Stanley and Buenos Aires and thanks to TV Presenter, Ros Atkins Falkland Islanders and Argentines spoke with each other over a TV link.


Part 1

By J. Brock (FINN)

The popular BBC World Service programme, “World Have Your Say” has come to Stanley and Buenos Aires and thanks to TV Presenter, Ros Atkins Falkland Islanders and Argentines spoke with each other over a TV link.


The Falklands’ side cut across all aspects of the Falklands’ community, from pub owners to students to young Government and Business officials.


The broadcast took place between 1400 had 1600hrs LMT and was repeated at 1930 HRS over FIRS.


Liam Short started things off by saying that his family had lived in the Falklands for the past 170 years and didn’t the Argentines appreciate that the Falklands are his home as much as Argentina is to their people.  Alejandro said that though Lam considered it his home Argentina has claimed it for many years and that an option must be found where Liam would continue to feel it was his home but Argentines also can be part of it. “We want to be it with you.  We don’t want to be it without you,” said Alejandro.  Liam short would like there to be trade and a friendly relationship with Argentines without the issue of sovereignty constantly being brought up.  Andres said that getting together and exchanging views would be good also having more turst with Argentina would help advance friendships.


Andrew Pollard said that we had trade links with other South American countries and didn’t it frustrate Argentina that there were trade links with others and not with Argentina. Guarlmo said that he was frustrated and would like to have more links and that sovereignty shouldn’t be the end all and be all of negotiations.  He went on to ask what Falkland Islanders thought Argentina’s role should be in Islanders’ lives. 


Pippa Christie said that she would like the relationship like it was with other countries in the world – a normal, friendly, neighbourly relationship with cultural and business exchanges while allowing each country to run its own affairs and have the government of their choice.  The sovereignty claim should be dispelled.  She is happy with the way of life in the Falklands.  Marianna, a journalist from Buenos Aires said that it made no sense to her to talk only if the sovereignty claim was dropped.  She feels that the aim of any conversation should be to agree on a new scenario and to talk about sovereignty.  “You change your mind and then we talk – no – we should talk together to reach a new agreement,” said Marianna.  Pippa’s answer was that Falkland Islanders did not recognise that Argentina has a legitimate claim to the Falkland Islands.  She pointed out that the Argentine Constitution says that the only outcome of negotiations has to be Argentine Sovereignty over the Falklands and that it made Islanders very uneasy about entering into negotiations because Argentina has already determined the outcome.


Michael, a British Business owner in Buenos Aires asked if Christina prevented flights, what impact would it have on the Islanders?  Andrew Newman, Director of Civil Aviation for the Falkland Islands Government said it would have an effect but access always has posed difficulties.  “We’ve resolved them in the past,” he said, “and we would get over them again.”  Other options were open and the Falklands were more prosperous now than they were prior to the 1982 Conflict.  Andrew Pollard added that currently the LAN flight is the route into the Falklands for Argentines, especially Argentine Veterans.  He asked the Argentines if the LAN flight was cancelled, would the Argentines consider it a political own goal?   Miguel said that he was a veteran and had been back three times and the Veterans would like the flight to continue because it was a healing experience and ghosts were laid to rest.  He mentioned that the Islanders had no travel documents prior to 1982 and that they went to Argentina for medical treatment and education. 


He insinuated that Britain was spending a lot of money on the Falklands for the resources.  Lewis Clifton countered the point by saying that under the UN Covenant the resources of the territory belong to the inhabitants of the territory.  He went on to say that the Falklands were forced to do this with Argentina because Britain had declared she would hand the Islands to Argentina.  A number of political options were tried and ruled out because they were untenable to the people of the Falklands. “Regrettably for you,” he said, “your leader decided to invade.”  It bestowed on the Falklands a legacy of opportunity and vision and we are taking it forward, he continued.   “We have the right to enjoy self-determination so we can move forward on our own,” he said.


Thomas, a member of the Argentine Air-force listened to the discussion and said that his father fought in the Falklands and it is important to find out about what happened in 1982.  He asked how it felt as a “Malvinas” citizen to be considered by the UK government as second class citizens?  Justin McPhee, Manager of Cable & Wireless, said that the only people making Islanders feel like second class citizens are the Argentines because they fail to accept that Falkland Islanders are a people in their own right and that they have the right to self-determination.  They are British by choice.


The Argentines agreed that the 1982 invasion put back the Argentine cause considerably.  Esteban, an Irish Argentine said it was a huge mistake.  He felt both governments were trying to hide something and it wouldn’t have happened if that weren’t the case.  He feels both governments are in the same position 30 years later.  Fernando agreed with Lewis Clifton that Gultieri changed things but wants to insist that never again will arms be taken up against the Falkland Islanders.  He went on to mention the human rights abuses carried out against Argentine people during the Dirty War.  He noted also that there was trade before the conflict even though there was a sovereignty claim.  Guarlmo mentioned that people in all areas of Argentine society supported the Junta and that the people should won their mistake. “We cannot expect Islanders to trust us if we are not coherent with ourselves,” he said.


Miguel said at present Argentines are proud of Christina Fernandez de Kirchner as she is prosecuting all those responsible for genocide during the dirty war.  As a conscript he witnessed inhumane treatment handed out to other conscripts by Argentine Officers.  He said the economy flourishes and he’s proud of Mrs Kirchner.


Andrew Pollard brought up the recent submission by Hector Timmerman at the UN where he said mobile phone masts were spy instruments and C&W as a radar station.  He doesn’t like to hear rubbish at a high political level from the Argentine President and from her Foreign Minister. “Do you believe everything they say at the United Nations?” he asked.  Miguel agreed and said it was pointless and looks at alternative sources.  He also rubbished UK press sources.



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