Some have asked whether the news of Thatcher’s passing has met with much rejoicing in Argentina. Questions of “where are you from and what are you doing here?” are part of our daily lives here, and for the last few days we have therefore been met with “English… ah… Thatcher!” But as for rejoicing, the short answer is no. She made front pages of most newspapers, naturally accompanied by a photo looking not at her best, but the accompanying write ups that I have seen have mostly been a fairly bare round up of political and biographical details. Check out La Voz de San Justo or Clarin (both in Spanish). Some today have mentioned that she is going to have a state-sponsored send off, others have also printed pictures of people rejoicing in the streets at her passing, but that’s the point; the rejoicing has taken place in the UK and been reported on in Argentina, rather than the other way round. Certainly there has been nothing like the polemics that we are used to around the theme of the Falklands in general.
The thing is that while 107% of Argentineans believe that the Malvinas belong to Argentina, many also believe the 1982 war to have been a serious faux pas in Argentina’s political history. It was also a long time ago; anyone younger than me will only just about remember it, and anyone younger than 30 wasn’t born anyway so whatever they know will be a combination of urban legend and school history book (which often amounts to the same thing). In fact yesterday right after the predictable “English… ah… Thatcher” conversation opener, I asked him what the majority of the young people of Argentina would know about Galtieri (the president who started the 1982 war), to which he responded “I don’t know… crazy alcoholic maybe?” Exactly.