‘What do I care?’ says foreign minister after Thatcher family requests that Argentina’s president not be invited
The Argentinian government has broken its official silence and shrugged off news that President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will not be invited to the funeral of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
“What do I care if I’m not invited somewhere that I wasn’t planning on going?” said the foreign minister, Héctor Timerman. “It’s just another provocation.”
The minister reacted to the news that the Thatcher family had made a special request that Argentina’s president should not be invited to the funeral.
Speaking on La Plata radio station, Timerman added: “The woman has died, let the family mourn her in peace.”
Until this morning there was official silence in Argentina regarding the death of Thatcher, who is both reviled and respected in the country for her swift military response following Argentina’s invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982.
Britain defeated Argentina in that brief war, but Thatcher is considered a war criminal by many Argentinians for her order to sink the General Belgrano cruiser even though it was outside the UK-declared exclusion zone, resulting in the loss of 323 lives. At the same time, she is held in esteem by others because the swift defeat resulted in humiliation and the collapse of the bloody military dictatorship that ruled Argentina at the time.
Argentina’s aspirations to regain the islands it calls Las Malvinas had remained largely dormant until current President Kirchner and her foreign minister, Timerman, started a campaign at international forums such as the UN. They have also been giving incendiary speeches at home demanding sovereignty for Argentina, which claims it inherited the islands from Spain when it became independent in 1816.
Timerman also dismissed the idea that the capital of the islands, Port Stanley, be renamed Port Margaret. “I don’t care if they want to call it Port Margaret, Margarita or Margarona, neither Argentina or the United Nations recognise it,” he said. “They keep violating resolutions of the United Nations. Then they use the same resolutions to go bomb other countries.”