Mayo de 2006
The debacle ended the dictatorship of General Leopoldo Galtieri, discredited
the military and led to the restoration of democracy after seven years. That in
turn ended the terrible "dirty war" of torture, disappearances and mass murder
that the country is struggling to come to terms with.
Still, this old-fashioned conflict rumbles on. British visitors need to tread carefully over Las Malvinas and there are frequent reminders of how neuralgic it remains. Falklands fishing vessels are sometimes impounded by the Argentine navy and there has been a go-slow in joint talks on fishing conservation. Charter flights to the islands from Chile, important for developing tourism, have been halted. Unrelated to Mr Kirchner's statement, the UK last week reiterated its sovereignty and rejected
Argentina's call for UN-brokered negotiations.
It is hard now, nearly a quarter of a century on, to recapture the emotions that surrounded the invasion in April 1982 (though the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges memorably compared the belligerents to "two bald men arguing over a comb".) How many Britons knew or cared then, or know or care now, that the Falklands had been British since 1833?
Argentines care far more. After all, 323 of them died in the sinking of the Belgrano - the single largest loss of life during the conflict. Total Argentine dead were 655 to Britain's 255, though more Argentine ex-combatants have committed suicide since the war than died in it. An acclaimed new film, Blessed by Fire, portrays the terrible conditions in which conscripts had to serve on the islands.
Argentina robustly maintains its claim to the Falklands but has sensibly pledged never to invade again. Mr Kirchner cares a lot, but will only use diplomacy. Recent suggestions by the Tories that Buenos Aires was planning a new attack were dismissed as rubbish but followed by tabloid attempts to fan the smouldering embers of this now distant conflict. It is worth celebrating how much things have changed when a president of Argentina puts things in their proper perspective. Let us hope that next year's 25th anniversary of the war does the same.
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