Argentina’s President, Cristina Fernandez, announced the construction of a new museum yesterday, to commemorate the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano in 1982 during the Falklands War. Putting the construction out to tender, Fernandez, committed $20 million to build the museum on the site of the old Navy Mechanical School, indicating that construction would be finished in time for August 2013; ” the 180th anniversary of the recovery of Malvinas by the Gaucho Rivero.”
The Gaucho Rivero was an employee of a Buenos Aires based businessman, Luis Vernet, who was sent to the Falkland Islands to hunt the wild cattle there. Rivero is credited with leading a riot over pay in 1833 which resulted in 5 murders, including Vernet’s manager, Matthew Brisbane; although the evidence suggests that a Spaniard named Antook started the killing. The rioters fled into the interior until captured by a small British force the following year. Rivero was not tried due to a legal technicality, and was released near Montevideo never to be heard of again.
Rivero raised no flags and claimed no allegiances, but was raised up as a hero during the Peronist period of Argentina’s history more than 100 years after the event.
The ARA General Belgrano was sunk in an action off the Falkland Islands in 1982 following Argentina’s invasion of the British territory. Argentina has tried to claim that the sinking, by a British submarine, was a war crime.
Argentina has now attempted to seize the Falklands by force on two occasions, 1832 and 1982. The current war of words has raised fears about a third attempt.