Argentine union to boycott UK ships

An Argentine trade union has instructed its members not to work on British ships or aircraft arriving in the country, as a show of support for the Buenos Aires government’s claim of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, known in Argentina as the Malvinas. In a statement reported in the Argentine press Feb. 14, the country’s confederation of transport workers (CATT) said: “We have resolved to boycott any ship with the British flag, or with the lying and invented flag of the Falklands, or with any flag of convenience which the British pirates use. “The world should know that Argentinians are a peaceful people, with deep humanitarian feelings, but with a firm conviction to recover the usurped territory.” Argentine newspapers reported that the move also extends to aircraft operated by UK firms.

The threat is the latest escalation in a diplomatic dispute between the UK and Argentina which comes just weeks before the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War. In December, Argentina persuaded MercoSur countries Brazil and Uruguay to join it in blocking Falklands-flagged vessels from their ports, and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner recently complained to the United Nations that the UK was “militarizing” the South Atlantic by sending Type 45 destroyer HMS Dauntless and heir to the throne Prince William to the region. Argentina also recently claimed to have intelligence which showed the UK had sent a Vanguard-class nuclear deterrent submarine to the South Atlantic, although it is not clear what the source of the intelligence was. (Defence Management, Feb. 14)