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Argentina, Britain Trade Barbs, As Prince William Arrives At Falklands

Argentine activists burn a Union Jack during a January protest in front of the British Embassy in Buenos Aires.
Sergio Goya
AFP/Getty Images
Argentine activists burn a Union Jack during a January protest in front of the British Embassy in Buenos Aires.

We're coming up on the 30-year anniversary of the war between Britain and Argentina over the Falkland Islands. But the wounds are still fresh, especially if you judge by the rhetoric being flung by the leaders of both countries.

The tensions were heightened even further by Prince William's arrival to the islands on Thursday. While England insists the heir to the throne's trip is routine, Argentina's foreign minister said it was akin to the arrival of a conquistador. The government also viewed the closing in of one of Britain's most advanced war ships as a move of aggression.

The AP explains:

"Britain and Argentina have been trading barbs in the run-up to the 30th anniversary of Argentina's April 1982 invasion. The 10-week war that followed ended in British victory and killed 650 Argentine troops, more than 250 British personnel and three islanders. ...

"Last month, Argentina persuaded Brazil, Uruguay and Chile to join a Mercosur trade group resolution to turn away any ship flying the Falklands' flag — which depicts a sheep and a ship along with the United Kingdom's red, white and blue Union Jack.

"That action prompted British Prime Minister David Cameron to accuse Argentine President Cristina Fernandez of having 'colonialist' aims on an island population that wants to remain a British dependency. She accused Cameron of 'mediocrity bordering on stupidity.'"

La Nacion, one of Argentina's largest newspapers, reports that Argentineans received Prince Williams' visit with protests in front of the British Embassy in Buenos Aires.

The protesters chanted that they wanted the British out of the Malvinas, as Argentina calls the Falklands, and they wanted the U.S. out of Latin America. They also burned the Union Jack.

The BBC reports from Port Stanley that most islanders want to stay under British rule. But because of Argentina's democratization since the last invasion, they're not really worried about another one:

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.