Argentina accuses Britain of using the Falklands as a distraction from economic woes

Added by on February 3, 2012

Argentina says the moves by Britain “have to do with British domestic politics, with the high unemployment,” said Vice President Amado Boudou yesterday.

“This is an attempt to cover for a government that has a low level of accomplishment.”

He spoke as a small group of protesters marched on the UK embassy in Buenos Aires, burning a British flag. A branch of the British-owned bank HSBC was also attacked yesterday.

Tensions over the Falklands have been rising as the 30-year anniversary of the war between Argentina and Britain approaches.

The clashes came as Prince William arrived in the Falklands for a six-week stint with the Royal Air Force. Buenos Aires has labelled him a “conqueror” and called his deployment a “provocation”, but the UK has insisted it is merely routine.

London has also announced that it will deploy one of the country’s most lethal warships, the HMS Dauntless, to the area. Buenos Aires has accused the British government of trying to militarize the conflict.

Argentina has received the backing of Latin American countries for its claim of sovereignty over the remote, wind-lashed islands, which were occupied by Britain in 1833.

The dispute erupted into warfare in April 1982 when Argentine troops seized the islands, only to be routed in a 74-day war that claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 Britons.

Diplomatic friction between Argentina and Britain has intensified since 2010, when London authorized oil exploration in the waters near the islands.

Yesterday the Venezuelan government backed Argentina, saying it “is not alone in its legitimate claim to the right of sovereignty” over the islands.

“The decision to send a warship to the Falklands, along with the aggressive statements of Prime Minister David Cameron and of (Foreign Secretary) William Hague (…) show an unacceptable attitude” that “causes the rejection of the entire Latin American continent and the Caribbean,” a Venezuelan statement said.