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


Venezuela's deadly year

The attention right now may be focused on President Hugo Chavez's health, but InsightCrime shares another grim milestone for Venezuela:

The Venezuelan Observatory Of Violence (Observatorio Venezolano de la Violencia) has released its study on homicides during 2012, which put the national homicide rate at 73 per 100,000 of the population, with Caracas registering 122 per 100,000. As a point of comparison, neighboring Colombia, still in the midst of the civil conflict, last year registered just over 31 homicides per 100,000.

The study was conducted by the NGO working with six national universities. It put the number of homicides during the year at 21,692, a significant increase on 2011 (19,336), which was went down as the most violent year on record in Venezuelan history.

If the study's findings are true, it would give Venezuela the highest murder rate in South America and -- most likely -- the second highest in the world after Honduras, which saw 91.6 homicides per 100,000 people in 2011 according to the UNODC. The orginzation's most recent statistics, released last year, had Venezuela tied with Jamaica at a homicide rate of 40.9 behind Honduras, El Salvador, and Ivory Coast.