03/04/2012 Taro Naw


03/04/2012

Materion cyfoes o Gymru a'r byd. Current affairs from Wales and the world.


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The Falklands in the south Atlantic.

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The reason for the most unexpected and unlikely war...

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..in Britain's recent history after Argentina occupied the islands.

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It cost hundreds of lives and the bombing of the Sir Galahad...

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..was a disaster for the Welsh Guards.

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But for Argentina, losing the war was dishonourable.

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The feeling of national disgrace continues.

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Blood is thicker than water so the war is still painful...

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..for Welsh Argentinians in Patagonia.

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Welsh soldiers in the British Army and soldiers from Welsh descent...

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..in Patagonia were fighting each other.

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I love Welsh history and traditions.

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But I am also an Argentinian 100%.

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And the Malvinas?

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The Malvinas belongs to us, belongs to Argentina.

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2nd April 1982.

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Argentine tanks and heavy artillery rolled into Port Stanley.

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Thousands of young soldiers followed to occupy the Falklands...

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..300 miles from South America and 8,000 miles from Britain.

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Could the UK regain it?

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I think the islands must remain for Argentina...

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..and they will remain for Argentina.

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In the capital, Buenos Aires, there's rejoicing.

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The crowd unite to praise the military junta...

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..under the General Galtieri's leadership.

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They're not the Falklands now but the Malvinas.

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I was working in Buenos Aires.

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I was one of the thousands who went to celebrate.

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There was nothing but celebrations and singing...

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..and dancing.

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The Argentine flag was everywhere.

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Everybody was celebrating and we were very happy.

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Gaiman in Patagonia.

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Buenos Aires is far away and the Falklands crisis even further.

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Although only 30 years have passed since the war...

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..it feels like another time.

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Billy Hughes had just completed his military service in 1982.

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He was within a hair's breadth of going to the islands...

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..but as he was over 18, he was too old to be called up.

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But he wanted to fight for his country.

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SING IN SPANISH

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Were you ready to fight when the war was on?

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Yes, I was ready. Truly.

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I thought I would be called up.

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To be honest, I was waiting, I was expecting to be called up.

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I have to say.

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Were you hoping for the call?

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I don't know if I was hoping...

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..but I'd have happily gone to the Malvinas.

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We own the Malvinas, no doubt about it.

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You won't go far in this country without seeing signs like this...

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..saying the islands belong to Argentina.

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The call for them to be returned is louder than ever.

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30 years on, there's anger and tension...

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..with anti-British protests in Buenos Aires.

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Argentina has taken its complaint to the UN.

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Patagonia is the nearest South American region to the Falklands.

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During the war the residents feared the RAF would attack the mainland.

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That didn't happen but the blackout was a reality every night.

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I was 10-years-old and lived with my grandparents.

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At night, I still remember it, the alarm from a factory...

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..near the river here, would sound.

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It would go off at about 10.00pm every night.

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Every house in the town had to switch off their lights.

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How scared were people the Gaiman?

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I remember we moved to the other side of the river.

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I'd ask, what would happen if a bomb fell on the bridge?

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I'm never going to see Nain.

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The whole Patagonian coastline went into red alert.

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I remember me and my sister hiding under a table...

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..in the darkness.

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We just waited for the bombs to fall.

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That was quite a frightening period of time.

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I think that...

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..it was the first time I thought maybe I was going to die.

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But the threat to Patagonia's people was minimal...

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..compared to thousands of young conscripts...

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..who were sent to the islands to fight.

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Many of them had just left secondary school...

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..and received a month's military training.

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The cold and hunger mean nothing.

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Only God and your motherland.

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In Argentina's large towns you'll see centres like this one in Trelew.

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They help former soldiers scarred by the war...

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..and then treated as a national embarrassment.

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Gracias.

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Thank you.

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Diolch!

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Iechyd da.

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Salud. Iechyd da.

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Iechyd da.

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The manager is Horacio Kent.

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He's from Welsh descent and remembers his grandfather...

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..speaking the language.

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As an 18-year-old soldier he could hardly hold, let alone shoot, a gun.

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By the end, we were starving and cold.

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The cold and hunger together are terrible things.

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We scraped for food wherever we could.

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Some died from food poisoning.

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Nobody can suffer anything worse.

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In Trelew, in the shadow of Lewis Jones's memorial...

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..one of Patagonia's founders, I'm meeting Milton Rhys.

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He's another Argentinian of Welsh descent.

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He has unique evidence from the eye of the storm.

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He was General Menendez's translator...

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..the military governor at Government House, Port Stanley.

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I realized that Menendez wasn't the real boss.

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At the end of the war, as the British forces closed in...

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..on Government House, Milton Rhys overheard a row over the phone...

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..between Menendez and General Galtieri...

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..who refused to believe Argentina had been beaten.

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Menendez said it was all over for us.

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We didn't have heavy artillery to fight with.

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But Galtieri was shouting, "Cowards, go and fight."

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Without raising his voice...

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..Menendez said he didn't understand the situation.

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But the memories aren't all bad.

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At the church in Port Stanley, Milton Rhys met a Welsh nurse...

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..Bronwen Williams.

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Neither could speak Welsh but as they sang a hymn...

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..they realized they came from the same lineage.

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They handed out hymn books and I sang the tenor part.

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Bronwen sang contralto.

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Singing four part harmonies is a Welsh tradition.

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It makes the blood run stronger!

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It was a very emotional moment.

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Happy and sentimental at the same time.

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The cost of the war could be counted in more than just numbers.

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255 British personnel died.

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649 Argentinians were killed.

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But for some in Patagonia it hurt that Welshmen...

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..and Argentinians of Welsh descent were fighting each other.

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It was very sad.

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There was no reason for it either.

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The Welsh weren't claiming anything for themselves...

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..rather then English were doing that.

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It was such a pity that soldiers from Wales came to war here...

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..and suffered here in this part of the world.

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Well, it was very sad. Very sad.

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How hard was it to comprehend that Welsh soldiers...

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..were fighting soldiers from Welsh descent?

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It was very sad.

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It's a big world and Wales is a small part of it.

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To think we were fighting on a small island.

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It's odd that happened.

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It's also a pity.

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The individual doesn't choose...

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..but the governments from the countries who sent the soldiers.

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Ricardo Andres Austin didn't go by choice.

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He's another of Patagonia's children.

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The 18-year-old farmhand had never left his home...

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..before going away to fight.

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He died during the war's first battle.

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A memorial for him was erected at the roadside near his mother's home.

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His grandfather spoke Welsh.

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His great-grandfather, Thomas Tegai Austin...

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..was one of the first Welsh people to come over on the Mimosa in 1865.

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For weeks after the war...

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..Celinda Austin received very little news about her son.

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One message arrived to say he was alive and well.

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It took the Army two months to send a letter saying that he'd died.

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She fought for many years to make the state pay a worthy pension.

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It's nice to be reminded of him, although it's just a statue.

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There's a bouquet of flowers in his hands - our family put them there.

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Celinda has been to the islands to visit the Argentine cemetery...

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..in Darwin - close to where her son died on the battlefield.

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Like many young conscripts...

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..he's lying in an unmarked grave.

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Neither the bodies of the soldiers or the families of the dead...

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..got the respect they deserved.

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I was hoping to see his grave. No. Almost all the graves are unmarked.

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Known only unto god - those are the words on his grave.

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Awful - terrible, terrible.

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In his last letter from the islands, her son was happy.

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He said he wasn't afraid.

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He wanted to protect his nation - he's a hero.

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June 14th, 1982.

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The Marines flying the Union Jack above Government House in Stanley.

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In Buenos Aires, three decades on, losing the war still hurts.

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The Malvinas are top of the political agenda...

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..and the ex-soldiers are finally getting the attention they deserve.

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President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner...

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..is determined to reclaim the islands.

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And in the United Nations...

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..Argentina, with the support of other South American countries...

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..is arguing for the decolonisation and demilitarisation of the islands.

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In Trevelin in the Andes, like everywhere across the country...

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..the schools teach children that the Malvinas belong to Argentina...

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..in an historic and geographic sense.

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Isias Grandis is a school teacher...

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..he preaches at the chapel and teaches at the Sunday School.

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The islands are part of Argentina.

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The majority of young people hate the English...

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..because they've stolen these lands.

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Why did they come to conquer the islands?

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Why do they do that across the world?

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It makes us very angry.

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Who do they think they are? What are they thinking?

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Why do they want more lands?

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The Prime Minister, David Cameron, says the people of the Falklands...

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..have the right to self-governance.

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But there was anger in Buenos Aires...

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..when he accused the Argentinians of being colonialists.

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David Cameron has said Argentina is being colonialista.

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What do you say to that?

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He's pulling our legs.

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I laugh because when you put it like that...

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..England is famous for being a colonialista all over the world.

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You just have to look at the world to see where its colonies are.

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England is a colonialista. It's in the blood.

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Argentina also claims...

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..sending Prince William to the islands was an insult...

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..on the eve of the 30th anniversary.

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It doesn't surprise me. They like to provoke.

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They know how to colonise and steal things.

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Britain, no matter who the Government is...

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..will never be prepared to give them back.

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There is more at stake than in 1982.

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The islands are prosperous today.

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Rich fisheries bring in a good income.

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Oil can also be found beneath the sea.

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It's hoped large profits could be made if it can be exploited.

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We're talking about fishing and we're talking about oil.

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People are not stupid.

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They say they are keeping the islands to look for anything.

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And now we can see...

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..the whole word is running out of petroleum, oil.

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So, now they search for petrol.

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A century ago, their strategy was to rule the world.

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Now, it's natural resources.

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That's why they insist on being there.

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It's not because they're overly concerned...

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..about the rights of the 3,000 islanders.

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It's because there is such a rich fish stock there.

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And you also have the oil.

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I believe that is one thing that drives people to war.

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Does Britain own these things?

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That's what they say, but we don't.

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Buenos Aires is looking at the islands' natural resources...

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..and uses every diplomatic weapon to put pressure on Britain.

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It doesn't currently have the resources or the desire to wage war.

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I would like the Malvinas to become part of Argentina once more.

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The English can call them the Falkland Islands if they wish.

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But it should all be done peacefully.

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We should not talk about war again.

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People need to sit down and talk.

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If the only way for Argentina to reclaim the Malvinas...

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..is by going to war, I don't want the Malvinas.

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I don't want them through war.

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Britain has no intention of giving up sovereignty.

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Some families have been in the Falklands for seven generations.

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It's their say according to David Cameron.

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People have been living there for hundreds of years.

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170 years.

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We have to think what would happen to these people, the British.

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What would we do with them if we get the Malvinas back?

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Throw them in the sea, bring them here or send them to Britain?

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It's difficult.

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You can understand their point. They were born there.

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They're English people. They are English people's children.

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They feel they are part of England or Britain.

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But such is the world, Britain isn't what it once was.

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It is no longer an empire.

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Even the countries within Britain...

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..are separating from each other to some extent.

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Scotland, and so on.

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There is no future for them as British citizens in the long term.

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Their best option is to integrate with Argentina. That would be best.

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Integrating the islanders with the South American continent...

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..isn't a new or unlikely idea says historian Fernando Williams.

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There was always a strong link, especially before the war.

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This cemetery in Buenos Aires is proof of the link over 200 years.

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Yes, there are many British people.

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I do not want to sound offensive to the islanders.

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But I believe they may feel they have some sort of debt to pay...

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..so that they now try to make out that they are more British...

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..than they used to be before the war.

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They are trying to create an image of being British...

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..without any connections to South America.

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From the historic viewpoint, that is completely wrong.

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The islanders were part of a large community of British descendants.

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That also includes Patagonia.

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Is there any hope of creating a new political model...

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..which combines a form of self government with shared sovereignty?

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Is there an opportunity for co-operation and discussion?

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Self government is important.

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For us, as Argentinians...

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..we should be prepared to listen to the islanders' views.

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I do not think that ignoring the islanders is a good idea.

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We have to be more creative in order to move forwards.

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That's what I believe.

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So, you don't think President Kirchner and David Cameron...

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..are being very creative now?

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Not at all. They're not prepared to consider any new ideas.

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This can be a very dangerous thing.

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In the centre of Buenos Aires is a memorial...

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..to the soldiers who died.

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Few Argentinians want a war, but they still lay claim to the islands.

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But they do not wish to sacrifice another young life.

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In the past, the connection between Britain and Argentina...

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..had been a very successful one.

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I believe...

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..the Malvinas would be the perfect place to celebrate the fact...

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..the fact that this connection has been so successful.

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S4C subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Materion cyfoes o Gymru a'r byd. Current affairs from Wales and the world.


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