Falklands referendum: Newspaper at the heart of the divide


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The Independent Online

Founded by a Scottish expat in 1876, the Buenos Aires Herald is one of the oldest English-language newspapers in Latin America.

It became internationally renowned in the 1970s during the last military dictatorship as the only paper in the country fearless enough to cover the human rights abuses committed by the junta. Since then it has maintained a steady but modest circulation of around 20,000. This year, however, it was back in the limelight.

In January, Argentina’s president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner took out an advertisement in British newspapers including The Independent which appeared as an open letter calling for Britain to negotiate the future of the Falkland Islands. The Sun reacted with its own missive in the Herald bluntly telling Argentina to get its “hands off”.Now, the Herald’s editor Carolina Barros said it was a “commercial decision” to print The Sun’s response – the edition in question was a sell-out.

“I found it interesting and challenging to run an advert from a paper that published the ‘Gotcha!’ headline about the sinking of the General Belgrano back in 1982,” she said. She addded she was trying to create a “dialogue”.

Ms Barros, who has Scottish and English heritage, said she felt “very embarrassed about what is going on. There’s this tit-for-tat war of words that isn’t good for anybody, not even Argentina’s domestic politics”.