Waters has arrived in South America for a major concert tour just as tensions between Argentina and Great Britain over the islands reach their highest pitch since the 1982 Falklands war. Argentina claims the British-held islands as its own, calling them Las Malvinas.
“Roger Waters was categorical: Las Malvinas belong to Argentina,” a journalist for the Chilean TVN state channel announced on his Twitter acount after getting an exclusive interview with the rock star on Tuesday. The show airs on Wednesday night on TVN’s 24hs news show.
“I am as ashamed as I possibly could be of our colonial past,” Waters is reported to have said to TVN journalist Amaro Gómez-Pablos. When asked if the islands are British or Argentinian, Waters reportedly replied: “I think they should be Argentinian.”
In a separate press conference in Chile the rock star was more cautious regarding the Falklands dispute, not saying directly who should own them. “Clearly there needs to be a solution to the problem of the varying claims [to the islands] – the claims are so convoluted and so old, going back as they do to the 17th century. It’s not a simple situation.”
The rock star, who has legions of fans in Argentina, addressed the Falklands dispute in Pink Floyd’s 1983 concept album The Final Cut in which the lyrics of the first track say: “Oh Maggie, Maggie, what have we done?” – an apparent reference to Margaret Thatcher’s order to sink the Argentinian battleship Belgrano, killing 368 Argentinian sailors.
“My view is that certainly it saved Margaret Thatcher’s political career at the time at the cost of a great many Argentine and British lives, which disgusted me then and still does now. I was never a huge fan of Margaret Thatcher,” Waters told the press conference in Chile.
Waters arrived on the heels of the American actor Sean Penn, who sparked controversy two weeks ago when he lambasted Britain for what he termed “ludicrous and archaic colonialism” in the Falklands after meeting with President Kirchner in his role as special ambassador for Haiti.
The Argentinian government on Tuesday instructed the country’s 20 largest companies to stop importing British products. In a nationally televised speech a day earlier, Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner declared the islands “one of the last remaing colonialist enclaves in the world”.
The industry minister Débora Giorgi has instructed companies to replace British imports with alternatives from other countries. Argentina imported products worth an estimated £400m from Britain in 2011.
The virtual import embargo came a day after two British cruise liners were turned away from the Argentine southern tourist port of Ushuaia under a new law in the province of Tierra del Fuego prohibiting all UK-flagged ships from docking there.
After playing in Chile, Waters arrives in Buenos Aires for nine sold-out shows at the River Plate football stadium that get under way next Wednesday. Waters has sold more than 370,000 tickets for the Buenos Aires leg of his The Wall Live tour in South America. Press reports estimate a gross revenue of £19m for the Buenos Aires shows alone.
- Roger Waters says Falkland Islands are Argentinian in reported comments – The Guardian (guardian.co.uk)
- No Olympics Boycott Over Falklands Row (news.sky.com)
- 56. Compromise on Las Malvinas (joannadaly.wordpress.com)
- Falkland Islands … debacle or triumph??? (reentanglement.wordpress.com)
- Sean Penn: The Malvinas/Falklands: diplomacy interrupted (guardian.co.uk)
- The Falklands or Las Malvinas? (politicsontoast.com)
- Falklands Row: Argentina Turns Away Ships (news.sky.com)
- Argentina ‘urges UK import ban’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Argentinian intellectuals question country’s claim to the Falklands (guardian.co.uk)
- Sean Penn Supports Argentina In Falklands Dispute – Contactmusic.com (contactmusic.com)