Argentina hits back over Falklands

 

Argentina's president has hit back at British Prime Minister David Cameron's claims that her government has “colonialist” aims on the Falkland Islands.

Returning to work after what proved to be a false cancer diagnosis that prompted doctors to remove her thyroid, Cristina Fernandez showed off her scar during an animated address to her ministers that was broadcast nationwide.

Questions raised by opposition media about her diagnosis and operation had prompted Fernandez to release her medical records.

Doctors removed the entire gland after discovering several more lumps during surgery. Tests then showed the growths were benign.

She concentrated much of her speech at Cameron, who angered Argentines while she was away by accusing them of having "colonialist" attitudes toward the Falklands.

"I heard they're calling us colonialist. ... One is always tempted to respond, but I think it's better to avoid it. When they say these things it's exactly because they don't have reasons or arguments," she said.

Argentina has called on Britain to negotiate the sovereignty of the remote South Atlantic archipelago it calls the Malvinas. Britain has maintained a military presence there since liberating the islands in 1982 from an ill-fated Argentine attempt to take them back.

Fernandez announced that she is making public the Rattenbach Report, a long-secret analysis of Argentine leadership failures that called the war a "military adventure" and recommended criminal penalties for those responsible. The report was prepared in 1982, just before the end of Argentina's dictatorship, but was kept classified to keep anyone from being punished.

Fernandez sought to draw a clear line between what she called the militarism of other governments and the democracy she leads.

"Next year will mark 180 years since the usurpation by the government of United Kingdom, which threw out the Argentines who were there (on the islands). They want to make us out to be the bad and violent little ones, something we're not," she said.

She noted that there are more British people living in Buenos Aires than on the disputed islands, and praised the many British businesses located in Argentina. "I would advise Cameron to have a little talk with the executives of these businesses, so that they can tell him how we Argentines are."

Twice in recent days, pro-government protesters have been pushed back by riot police from the British Embassy in Buenos Aires, chanting and carrying signs demanding that Britain turn over the islands.

AP

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