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Argentina Inflames Falklands Tensions with Malvinas Olympic Training Spot

Posted on the 04 May 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost
Argentina's Olympic training advert shot in the Falklands enrages Britain.

Argentina's Olympic training advert shot in the Falklands enrages Britain.

The Background

Argentina is again asserting its claim to disputed British territory the Falkland Islands, this time with a 90-second advert featuring one of its Olympic athletes training in and around the Falklands capital city.

The video, which was filmed on the island without authorization, shows Argentine hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg running past red telephone boxes, doing press ups on the beach, and step-ups on the Great War memorial, all around the islands’ capital, Port Stanley. “To compete on English soil, we train on Argentine soil,” the ad’s parting shot reads. “In homage to the fallen and the war veterans.”

The advert was not commissioned by the Argentine government, but when its makers, ad agency Young & Rubicon, owned by British advertising giants WPP, offered it to President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, she bought it. It aired Wednesday night in Argentina, the 30th anniversary of the British sinking of an Argentine cruiser, the Belgrano, and bears the presidential seal.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, when Argentine forces invaded the islands to assert their sovereignty over them, but were defeated by a British task force at a cost of many lives.

The Falklands responds to ‘disrespectful’ ad

Ian Hansen, a member of the Falklands Legislative Assembly, said, in a statement released to the local Penguin News, “Sadly, this illustrates the disrespect the Argentine authorities have for our home and our people. Unsurprisingly, at no stage does the video feature any Falkland Islanders – a clear reflection of Argentina’s policy, which is to pretend that the people of the Falkland Islands do not exist.  It is time the world took note – we do exist, and as with all people we have rights, which the Argentine Government is trying to deny us.”

The Sun responds: ‘Argies dance on our graves’

In an outraged report, British tabloid The Sun blasted the ad as “deliberately provocative”, noting, “And to rub salt in the wound, [Zylberberg] does step-ups on the islands’ Great War Memorial honouring British sailors who died battling the German fleet in 1914.” The paper also claimed that the ad might “backfire” on Kirchner, “as many Argentines were critical of it.”

Argentines respond

Some were critical: One reader, commenting on a piece in Argentine paper La Nacion, found the video in “poor taste”, and still another added, “To me, in my opinion, the ad is a hair infantile – what does sport have to do with politics? Winning the hockey, they’ll give us back the islands?” The president of the Argentine Olympic Games committee agreed, declaring, “The Olympic Games are not a platform to discuss politics.” Some, of course, were not: Wrote one reader, “I like the video. I don’t share anything with this government (almost), but the video is good.”

William Hague responds: ‘Stunt’ shows Kirchner has no support

British Foreign Secretary William Hague dismissed the ad as a “sad stunt”, claiming that it shows that Kirchner got no support for Argentina’s claim over the islands at a recent summit of North and South American nations, The Telegraph reported. “It is a rather sad stunt, it won’t impress anybody in the world. We are not do going to take any actual action in response to it,” he said.

The Argentine Olympic spot that’s offending Britain

More on the Falklands

  • Prince William arrives in the Falklands as Britain and Argentina engage in war of words
  • Falklands War 30th anniversary: Sabre-rattling?

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