Argentina blasts Britain over islands and Antarctica

In a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron published in the British media today, Argentine President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner attacks Britain's claim on the Falklands, known in Argentina as the Malvinas: 

One hundred and eighty years ago on the same date, January 3rd, in a blatant exercise of 19th-century colonialism, Argentina was forcibly stripped of the Malvinas Islands, which are situated 14,000km (8700 miles) away from London.

The Argentines on the Islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the United Kingdom subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule. Since then, Britain, the colonial power, has refused to return the territories to the Argentine Republic, thus preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity.

The Brits have a different version of that history, reports the Guardian

The FCO also disputes Fernández's claim that Britain kicked out the island's original Argentinian inhabitants. It says there was no civilian population on the island in 1833, with the Royal Navy expelling an Argentine military garrison that had arrived three months earlier. "We can't talk about sovereignty unless and until the Falkland islanders agree to it," the FCO said.

Fernandez's latest broadside comes two weeks after Argentina made a formal complaint over Britain's decision to name a large swathe of Antarctica after the queen. Queen Elizabeth Land -- which is nearly twice the size of the U.K., falls within what London considers British territory, but Argentina claims part of it as well. 

The 1959 Antarctic Treaty isn't much use on this one -- it forbids new territorial claims on the continent but doesn't renounce or make any judgment on previous ones. Both Argentina and Chile have overlapping claims with Britain and the foreign ministry in Buenos Aires attacked the naming move for "anachronistic imperialist ambitions that hark back to ancient practices". 

Alastair Grant - WPA Pool/Getty Images

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