Young Argentines less certain over Falklands Sovereignty

8 Mar

A poll conducted by the University of Liverpool amongst young people in Argentina concerning their attitudes to the Falkland Islands has concluded that their views are influenced by a number of factors including geographical location, family history and their views on domestic politics.

The study, involving 18 – 26 year olds from throughout Argentina, found that despite being well-informed about the sovereignty dispute, young people did not always conform to the views of either the Argentine Government or the media. Many of the young people considered domestic political issues to be more important, while others supported the Islands’ independence.

Opinion polls from 2010 showed that 45% of the Argentine population had little or no interest in the Falklands and the age group 18 – 29 year olds had the least interest of all. However, 52% – mainly male and over-50 – were found to regularly follow the news on this issue.

Dr Matt Benwell, who led the research, said: “This study found that young people were influenced by a number of factors and contexts. Many of the young people did not put the issue of who owned the Falkland Islands as high on their list of concerns as international trade, higher education or the issues of drugs and insecurity.”

“We found that if interviewees had a family member, or knew of someone who had taken part in the 1982 conflict, then the issue was more important to them, although that didn’t necessarily mean they supported the government’s actions. Also, the views of young people who lived nearer to the South Atlantic territories were far stronger than those who lived in Buenos Aries, or the northern regions of Argentina.”

“The recent drilling for oil and gas around the Islands was more important to young people than the issue of who the Islands belonged to. The management of natural resources and the potential future benefits for the Argentine economy were seen as significant, as were the potential ecological hazards in light of events in the Gulf of Mexico last year.”

Sovereignty of the Islands is at the forefront of the current Argentinean government’s agenda, spearheaded by the nationalist President Cristina Kirchner. The issue is referred to in many subtle ways in street names, monuments, postage stamps, stadia and weather reports as well as more obvious reminders via politicians, through education and the media.



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