Filed Under:

Some Argentines Demand Return Of Falkland Islands

Play associated audio

Thirty years ago, on April 2, 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, leading to a short but bloody war with Britain. Argentina lost, and the islands in the frigid South Atlantic stayed under British control.

Argentina still claims the islands, however, and is pressuring Britain like never before into one day releasing them.

On a recent day, the ornate Palais de Glace museum in Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, was packed with visitors browsing through a collection of photographs from the Falkland Islands war.

The Argentine invasion and the bloody consequences have been forgotten by much of the world, but not here. People like Julian Vincent come to remember.

"As an Argentine, we feel a profound connection to Las Malvinas, as people here call the Falklands," Vincent says. He says Argentina is within its rights to continue struggling to take control of the islands.

Argentines are taught in schools that Britain stole the Falklands in 1833, when warships ousted a small Argentine garrison. Foreign Minister Hector Timerman says the islands are part of Argentina.

"We are not going to be complete until the Malvinas come back to Argentina," Timerman says. "We are never going to stop peacefully asking Great Britain to sit down and negotiate with us."

Lately, the pressure tactics have included banning ships with the Falklands flag from ports to urging Argentine companies to cut British imports. And there have been threats to restrict Argentine airspace to commercial flights that service the Falklands from neighboring Chile.

The pressure tactics won't work, says Stephen Luxton, who has lived all his life on the islands.

"As a remote community, we're used to constraints on links into the islands, and we're good at working around those sorts of problems," Luxton says, "and that's what we're doing."

Luxton says the islanders consider themselves British.

"As a fifth-generation Falkland Islander, I very much think that it's our right to choose our own future," he says. "We wish to live here peacefully as a British overseas territory, and we wish to have the right to determine our own future."

As long as that's the case, British Prime Minister David Cameron recently told Parliament, there's nothing to discuss with Argentina.

"The absolutely vital point is that we are clear that the future of the Falkland Islands is a matter for the people themselves," Cameron said. "And as long as they want to remain part of the United Kingdom ... and be British, they should be able to do so."

In Argentina, though, it's hard to forget the sacrifices made in the war, which helps explain people's attachment to the islands. The conflict was short — just 74 days — but had all the features of conventional war: Artillery fire pounded Argentine positions, warships were sunk by Exocet missiles, and there were aerial dogfights and amphibious invasions.

The loss of life topped 900.

Retired Capt. Juan Carlos Ianuzzo was there, and because of geography and history, he says, the islands are Argentine.

"Argentina got them from Spain, and the English took them away," Ianuzzo says.

He speaks for the majority of Argentines when he says, "We want them back."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


Making Art Off The Grid: A Month-Long Residency At A Remote National Park

Filmmakers Carter McCormick and Paula Sprenger recently wrapped up a month as artists-in-residence at Dry Tortugas National Park, 70 miles west of Key West. No phone, TV, Internet or other people.

After A Long Day Of Fighting Climate Change, This Grain Is Ready For A Beer

Kernza is a kind of grassy wheat that traps more carbon in the soil than crops like wheat and rice. Now, a West Coast brewery is using the grain in its new beer called Long Root Ale.

WikiLeaks Reveals Clinton Aides Knew They Had An Email Problem On Their Hands

"We need to clean this up," one aide wrote after President Obama said he had learned of Hillary Clinton's private email server "through news reports."
WAMU 88.5

Jet Noise Is No Joke For Residents Burned By Report About Airport Complaints

Nobody wants to own up to making thousands of complaints about noise from planes flying out of Reagan National Airport. But nearby residents say the noise definitely has gotten worse recently. And there appears to be a specific reason — a new air traffic control system.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.