New Argentine Peso Features the Falklands
Argentina has launched a new 50-peso currency note featuring a map of the Falkland Islands to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the invasion of the British archipelago.
First, given the debacle that was the invasion of the Falklands/Las Islas Malvinas by the Argentine military, this is a weird commemoration. I understand commemorating war dead, but putting it on the money seems a strange choice.
Second, while I understand that the Argentines lay claim to the islands, they aren’t getting them, so this makes the commemoration even more strange (although I understand the nationalism that Kirchner is trying to tap into here).
Beyond the (at least in my opinion) odd choice here, Kirchner went on to increase the drama over the islands in a way that sounds like an attempt to channel the late Hugo Chávez:
President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said the Falklands were "Nato’s military base" in the region.
Ms Fernandez said that Britain had installed long-range missiles on the island, which represented a potential threat to South America.
"The British government does not reveal what the military budget is for the Falklands. That is a pity in a country where 20% of the young people are unemployed.
"It would be good if England was less dedicated to war and more to its own people," said Ms Fernandez.
And, apparently,Kirchner claimed not just missiles, but nuclear ones (via the Sidney Morning Herald):
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has claimed that the Falkland Islands serve as a nuclear base for the NATO alliance in the South Atlantic.
Argentina, which calls the archipelago the Malvinas, claims the British overseas possession as its own, and fought a brief but bloody war for it in 1982.
The islands, she said on Wednesday, "constitute a NATO military nuclear base in the South Atlantic – this is the truth that they can’t continue to hide".
The British have denied this:
Britain called the claims "wholly false" and said UK forces numbers have declined to the "minimum necessary to defend the Islands".
"With regard to nuclear weapons, the UK’s position is clear," a Foreign Office statement said.
"The United Kingdom ratified the protocols to the Nuclear Weapons Free Zone covering Latin America and the Caribbean in 1969, and it fully respects these obligations.
"The UK will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states parties to, and in compliance with, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty," it added.
Well, of course: what would you expect them to say? (Although call me crazy, but if NATO wants to nuke South America, I think it more than has that capability sans a base on the Falkland Islands).
There are issues of oil, nationalism, and history here that are relevant to explaining the British POV on this matter. One of the things, however, that I am fairly certain is not the case is that neither NATO nor the UK sees these islands as a military toehold for use in some war on South America.
It is worth noting that disposition of the citizens of the islands:
In March 2013, residents in the Falkland Islands voted overwhelmingly in a referendum in favour of remaining British.
Just three residents out of 1,517 were against remaining British.