Once again the issue of the Argentine claim to sovereignty over the Malvinas (Falkland) Islands is a hot issue here, almost causing a rift between Argentina and the United Kingdom. After living in Buenos Aires for almost two years, I’m tired of hearing this same story again. I’ve seen Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner campaign and campaign to get the islands back, but to no avail. And continually, English representatives have shown no willingness to talk about it.
On Wednesday, June 15th British Prime Minister David Cameron said during a Parliamentary speech that Argentina’s soveriegnty claim over the Malvinas islands “is not negotiable. Period!” Recently, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon visited Argentina on his birthday and while here, Kirchner petitioned once again for the return of the islands to Argentina. Though the islands are thousands of miles away from the United Kingdom and seem to serve no major strategic purpose, there is the potential for oil drilling there, which is an obvious reason for why the UK would want to hold on to them.
The next day, Kirchner said that his comments were “mediocre and almost stupid”, adding to the tensions. The Malvinas Islands have been an issue here well before the failed military campaign of the 1980s which eventually led to the end of the dictatorship in Argentina. It seems that everytime some bit of bad news comes out of this country the president brings up the Malvinas issue again, which is probably an attempt at bolsering nationalism and focusing blame on someone else. It’s not an unknown tactic.
Luckily the Buenos Aires Herald has been there all along to cover the stories, and today came out with a story on illegal unemployment and unemployment. The article stated:
Illegal labour reached 34.1 percent of the total amount of jobs in Argentina during the first quarter of the year, the Indec National Statistics bureau reported.
Meanwhile, unemployment stood at 7.4 percent during the first three months of the year.
The highest unemployment rate was found among economically active women up to 29 years old (16.6 percent), while the lowest rate was found among economically active men between ages 30 and 64 (4.7 percent).
It doesn’t look to well for a president seeking re-election that a large chunk of the workforce isn’t registered or paying taxes (guilty as I am, I too am working in the black).
And also without much surprise, this morning for the third time in a week one of the free newspapers handed out at bus stops and subway stations, handed out to most workers during the commute when they’re angry and tired of the transit problems, had a giant headline about the Malvinas. So at least their rage can be centered on something other than the fact that the daily commute is such a mess. For a change of pace, anyway.