Falklands or Malvinas: Sensitivity in the South Cone

16 Sep

The Chilean Mayor of a small town way down in the far south of South America has caused an uproar in neighbouring Argentina by referring to the Falkland Islands by their British title, rather than as Argentina’s ‘Malvinas’.

According to RADIO POLAR, Hugo Henríquez Matus, the Mayor of Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn) caused outrage across the Andes when he spoke of an intended visit to the Islands which are claimed by Argentina under their Spanish name with the apparent support of the Government of Chile. All the member states of Mercosur and UNASUR use the designation ‘Malvinas’ rather than ‘Falkland Islands’.

Cabo de Hornos is a Chilean community centered on Puerto Williams, and its current Mayor or ‘Alcalde’ was elected in 2008 to serve for four years.

The Provincial Government immediately issued a statement expressing surprise at the Mayor’s indiscretion and saying that the Chilean Foreign Ministry had warned Matus, ” to refrain from any situation that would bring about problems”.

Governor Cárcamo contacted the Argentine Governor of Tierra del Fuego, Fabiana Rios, to express his apologies about statement by the Mayor of Cabo de Hornos. Rios responded by expressing his “sadness faced with this situation,” and said that it did not reflect the current cooperative relationship that existed between the two countries.

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