Jan 10 2015
Action against cruise liners visiting the Falklands or carrying the flags of countries associated with Britain continued in Buenos Aires last weekend when passengers leaving and boarding the Star Princess and the Seabourn Sojourn were subjected to verbal abuse by protesters.
Cruise passengers from the Star Princess visiting Stanley this week however said they were not intimidated by the protests on th dock, which were, “quite small,” one passenger told Penguin News.
Argentine police removed protestors from the dock.
Newspapers reports had claimed there had been “scores of activists,” burning tyres and union flags, while others waved banners referring to, “pirate ships,” and leaflets were handed out accusing the cruise ships of docking illegally, in contravention of the so-called Gaucho Rivero law.
This is a regional edict which aims to prohibit the docking of British ships involved in the “exploitation of natural resources,” in five Argentine provinces including that of Buenos Aires.
Leading the protests once again was activist Toni Lopez, spokesman for the Patriotic Resistance Movement, otherwise know as The Quebracho Group, who have been described as ‘Cristina’s thugs’ and have been responsible in recent weeks for a number of actions, including violence, against the peaceful activities of the cruise industry, without apparently being subject to any police or legal interference.
Protests against the application of the Gaucho Rivero law to cruise ships from the tourism industry in Argentina’s southern ports appear to have been effective, in that on Monday, some days after encountering hostility in Buenos Aires, the Star Princess was able to put its passengers ashore in the Patagonian port of Puerto Madryn, without incident.
The economies of Southern Argentine ports such as Puerto Madryn and Ushuiaia are heavily dependent on cruise ship visits and the action of the Quebracho group which last month caused the cruise vessels Seabourn Sojourn and Veendam to by-pass Ushuaia in favour of the Chilean port of Punta Arenas was described as catastrophic by tourism authorities there.
In a melodramatic announcement on Wednesday the Argentine President also claimed that Britain was threatening, “to come to militarize and invade our Malvinas Islands,” during a speech at the welcome ceremony for the frigate ARA Libertad in Mar del Plata.
Mrs Kirchner took advantage of news from the UK that 150 members of B Company of the 2nd Mercian Battalion will undertake a routine two-month tour of duty in the Falklands on daily patrols.
According to a British military spokesperson: “Their role will be to undertake regular patrols protecting key locations across the Falklands as well as training in heavy arms and small arms.”
The spokesperson also noted there would be an educational element to the tour with the soldiers learning about the history of the issues in relation to past conflicts.
Argentines angered by a full page advert placed by The Sun newspaper in the Buenos Aires Herald (repudiating the Argentine view of Falklands history as recorded by the Argentine Government’s open letter in the Guardian the week before) set fire to British flags and the Sun advert last Saturday.
Argentine Newspapers Ambito and La Nación both carried the story on their websites attracting hundreds of comments from branding the British as “pirates, slavers, thieves and murderers.”
Source: Penguin News