Another ‘symbolic’ gesture from Argentina

2 Aug

Lawmakers in Buenos Aires province passed a bill on Thursday to prohibit ships involved in business activities off the disputed Falkland Islands from mooring at its ports, part of Argentina’s drive to discourage oil exploration in the area. Argentina had already banned ships flying the Falklands flag from stopping at the country’s ports.

The bill approved by provincial lawmakers in Buenos Aires, the country’s most populous district, is aimed at keeping ships from obtaining supplies or raw materials in Argentina that could be used in energy exploration or the fishing industry off the Falklands. “The law prohibits any ship with a U.K. flag or other flag of convenience that comes to the area of the Malvinas to explore or exploit natural resources from mooring, anchoring or getting logistical help,” said the bill’s sponsor, Patricia Cubria. Other Argentine provinces with Atlantic Ocean ports have taken similar steps.

The South American country has also threatened legal action against companies searching for oil and gas off the islands. Cubria said the measure would not affect cruise ships or other vessels used for tourism.

The province’s move is largely symbolic since ships en route to the Falklands rarely stop in Argentina.

Argentina claims that the British seized the islands from them by force in 1833, and have intermittently pronounced their sovereignty since that time. A peace Treaty between Britain and Buenos Aires in 1849 supposedly finished the dispute, with Argentina dropping its claim, but the matter was raised again in the 1880’s. The law banning certain vessels from Argentine ports is known as the Gaucho Rivero law. Rivero was a gaucho working on East Falkland in 1833, and who, in popular myth, led a revolt resisting British rule there. This is not true. The revolt was over pay and five people were killed, all of them employees of the Argentine businessman, Luis Vernet. Rivero turned Queens evidence after his capture.

Martiniano Leguizamon Pondal, in his book ‘Toponimía Criolla en las Islas Malvinas’, created the myth of Antonio Rivero the ‘revolutionary hero’ in 1956.



12 Responses to “Another ‘symbolic’ gesture from Argentina”

  1. Don Alberto August 3, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    “that comes to the area of the Malvinas”

    Not a problem, as “the Malvinas” don’t exist – unless, that is, it’s somewhere in e.g. Africa.

  2. CLopez August 3, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    Rivero was not the one who turned Queens evidence, in fact he was the last one to be captured. You got that wrong. Unsurprisingly, I must add, knowing the tendency of this blog.

    • lordton1955 August 3, 2012 at 2:40 am #

      I have evidence. Do you ? Knowing the tendency of your comments, I suspect not.

      1834 – January, Lt. Henry Smith arrives in HMS Challenger, as the “Resident Naval Officer” responsible for the administration of the Falkland Islands, and intent on capturing Rivero and his murderous gang.
      January 27th, Smith records in his diary; ”9.30 arrived a gaucho of the name of Santiago Lopez … with a message from Antonio Rivero the principal of the murderers saying if I would promise him pardon… he would give up the horses and himself and assist in capturing the others.”

      March 6th, Lt. Smith discovers the location of Antonio Rivero; “… he determined the following morning to betray his companions, and deliver the horses being his turn to take care of them, which he accordingly did, and the four Indians seeing the course things had taken, surrendered.” [PRO Adm 1/42 doc 12 Letter to Rear-Admiral Sir Michael Seymour dated June 30th, 1834]

      • CLopez August 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

        Of course I have, don’t be unfair to me:

        “Before the Beagle’s arrival Lieut. Smith had succeeded in capturing the principal murderer, and transporting him to an islet in the Sound, where he was watched, and furnished with provisions by the boat’s crew The lieutenant applied to me for assistance, and knowing that he was not safe while such a desperate character as Rivero was at large, though on an islet, and that the life of Luna (the king’s evidence) was still more risked I took those men and one named Channon, who was said to have been an accomplice in the plot, though not an active agent, on board the Beagle. Rivero was put in irons, Channon confined to the ship, and Luna left at liberty, though watched.”

        from “Proceedings of the second expedition, 1831-1836, under the command of Captain Robert Fitz-Roy”

      • lordton1955 August 4, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

        And your evidence about Rivero not being willing to turn Queen’s evidence ??

        Fitzroy has it that Jose Maria Luna offered to turn state’s evidence but both Channon (an Englishman who may or may not have taken part) and Rivero were quick to betray their colleagues. Darwin refers to the principle murderer being one ‘Antuco’ which appears to be a mistaken ‘Antonio’ – he says that this person was willing to give evidence against the others. “the principal murderer, Antuco, has given himself up. — he says he knows he shall be hanged but he wishes some of the Englishmen, who were implicated, to suffer with him; pure thirst for blood seems to have incited him to this latter act.”

        Smith also refers to Rivero’s betrayal.

        I should add that Fitzroy’s account was written up in 1839 and based on information supplied by others. It contains inaccuracies. Lt. Smith was the arresting officer, and the Reverend Titus Coan was present, indeed instrumental, in the capture of the fugitives. Of course, as the matter never actually went to trial no evidence of any kind was given.

        What is a fact is that Rivero was no hero – just a guacho involved in a riot whereby people died. Who inflicted the fatal blows has also never been shown with any certainty one way or the other. Rivero raised no flag. Rivero was no revolutionary hero. Just another of Argentina’s myths and legends.

      • CLopez August 5, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

        “Rivero turned Queens evidence after his capture”. That’s what you wrote. You said nothing about willingness. Likewise, I said nothing about heroic actions.

        Although I have to say, the account of what Henry Rea of the Hopeful (at the service of the Admiralty) found after the murders is most interesting:

        “I then hoisted an English jack at the flag staff which I
        intend lo leave flying and have cautioned those on Hog Island to respect it and consider themselves in a settlement of his Britannic Majesty which they have promised to do. As it is uncertain into whose hands this may fall I have not entered into many particulars that have come to my knowledge”

        Specially because it shows how the remaining settlers of the Argentine colony (“those on Hog Island”) were perhaps not so keen towards the British takeover as you would like.

      • lordton1955 August 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

        The settlers that fled Rivero’s gang took the Union Jack with them for safekeeping. Rea was a Royal Nay Officer, but the Hopeful was not a RN vessel, and it couldn’t stay to assist in the capture of Rivero. It offered the settlers relief but it could do no more.

        You read far too much into a warning not to descend into anarchy while they awaited another ship.

        There was no Argentine colony.

      • CLopez August 6, 2012 at 1:23 am #

        “As it is uncertain into whose hands this may fall I have not entered into many particulars that have come to my knowledge” — what would you think he was talking about? Curious, uh?

        More on the Queen’s Evidence:

        “/Feb. 3./ At an early hour this morning six men appeared on the shorewith eleven horses and four beeves. The bullocks were purchased for ourvessel, and a bright, active little Spaniard with one attendant came onboard to receive the pay. These men are armed with double-barrelledguns, pistols, dirks, and knives. The Spaniard is the evident leader ofthe gang, and they call him Captain Antook. Having received the pay for the animals, he bowed a polite good-day and was off in trice. His eyewas sharp and restless, and his bearing like that of one ill at ease.

        /Feb. 4./ We saw two men on the beach this morning, and a boat was sentto speak them. They proved to be an Englishman and an Indian from Port Louis, on the opposite side of this island, and were supposed to have been sent by Lieutenant Smith to inquire about our vessel. In the afternoon they came down again, and the Englishman came on board with a letter from the Governor to Captain Nash. This letter gave many particulars in regard to the bloody massacre at the Port, stating also that the Indian who accompanies the Englishman was one of the murderers who had given himself up to the Governor, and received pardon on promising to become a witness for the Crown.”

        Englishman = Channon
        Indian = Luna

        This from the Reverend Titus Coan you mentioned. The year is 1834, of course.

        May I ask for a link or name of the material in which you are basing to say that “Rivero turned Queen’s evidence after his capture”? Or else a quote would be helpful.

      • lordton1955 August 6, 2012 at 2:12 am #

        “Arrived in the middle of the day at Berkeley Sound, having made a short passage by scudding before a gale of wind. — Mr Smith, who is acting as Governor, came on board, & has related such complicated scenes of cold-blooded murder, robbery, plunder, suffering, such infamous conduct in almost every person who has breathed this atmosphere, as would take two or three sheets to describe. — With poor Brisbane, four others were butchered; the principal murderer, Antuco, has given himself up. — he says he knows he shall be hanged but he wishes some of the Englishmen, who were implicated, to suffer with him; pure thirst for blood seems to have incited him to this latter act. — Surrounded as Mr Smith, with such a set of villains, he appears to be getting on with all his schemes admirably well.”

        Diary of Charles Darwin

        He wanted the Englishmen to suffer. In other words he was prepared to make it so.

        Perhaps we both read too much into too little.

        I’ll have to find my reference for Lt. Smith’s diary – January 27th, Smith records in his diary; ”9.30 arrived a gaucho of the name of Santiago Lopez … with a message from Antonio Rivero the principal of the murderers saying if I would promise him pardon… he would give up the horses and himself and assist in capturing the others.”

      • lordton1955 August 6, 2012 at 8:01 am #

        I should thank you – I am now trying to identify the Englishmen implicated by Rivero. My best guess so far is that they were Mackay and Douglas, who were actually eye witnesses to Dixon’s murder. Trying to get rid of the witnesses ?? I hadn’t considered the story worth this much investigation before but I’ve had a pleasant couple of hours. Thanks 🙂

      • CLopez August 6, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

        Fascinating, uh? I’d never thought I’d find so many pieces of this puzzle scattered through the web.

        Maybe he was referring to Channon? I would say it was more about revenge than anything. Thomas Helsby? In his account he depicts himself as a prisoner, but maybe they spared him for a reason… He acknowledged that Rivero wanted him dead:

        “during the absence of Channen and Pearce, I was outside the house looking round, when I perceived Lattore coming full gallop towards me, with a sword in his hand, and I retreated within doors, when he was within about 100 yards of me, on which Felipe Salagar called to him, and he turned his horse in another direction, and I afterwards found that he was sent by Antonio Rivero for the purpose of killing me, and under the expectation that I should assist in burying the dead; a loaded musket was sent to one of the graves for the express purpose of dispatching me.”

        Douglas and Mackay could be, after all we don’t know if they were mere witnesses or if they took a stance at that moment, for the purpose of saving their lives.

        Anyhow, I’m glad you enjoyed the material 🙂

  3. grimbler August 3, 2012 at 9:19 am #

    Such good fun! By the way when your oil production comes on stream in a couple of years or so do make a point of rewarding any south american country who is currently helpful to you by awarding them subsidised contracts for the supply of anything which is difficult to obtain “lettuces and bananas” come to mind.
    I know a Dutch company who would be happy to build a “massive greenhouse” to supply fresh produce if the FIG would subsidise their energy costs.

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