BUENOS AIRES – The Argentine Social Development Ministry apologized Monday for a message it published on social media wishing everyone a Happy New Year with a map of the country that did not include the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas in Argentina), which sparked controversy in a country that has claimed sovereignty over the archipelago since 1833.
“Our apologies for the mistake made by our design department on our New Year’s greeting,” said the message posted by the ministry Monday on its Twitter account.
This weekend, the ministry and Minister Carolina Stanley tweeted a Happy New Year greeting with a map of Argentina but with no sign of the Falkland, South Georgia or South Sandwich Islands, an archipelago over which Argentina has asserted its sovereignty since 1833 when it was taken over by the British.
In a statement on Radio 10, former Argentine ambassador to London between 2012-2016, Alicia Castro, said the map “has a lot to do with defending our territory” and the identity of Argentina, while accusing Minister Stanley of “putting herself on the side of the usurper.”
In Castro’s opinion, this “pruning” of national territory has everything to do with the “de-Malvinizing policy” of President Mauricio Macri, which also came to light four months ago with the signing of an accord between Argentina and the UK that will allow removal of “all obstacles” to the economic development of Britons on the archipelago.
The ex-ambassador was referring to the visit of the UK minister of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, Alan Duncan, which took place last September and left a joint statement saying it “was agreed to take the appropriate measures to remove all obstacles limiting the economic growth and sustainable development of the Falkland Islands, including in trade, fishing, shipping and hydrocarbons.”
That statement was slammed by the opposition and some parts of the Argentine ruling party because it said nothing about the conflicted sovereignty question that set off a war in 1982, in which Britain prevailed.
Killed in that war were 255 British, three islanders and 649 Argentines, of whom 123 were unidentified and were buried on the islands.