The daughter of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who ordered the eviction of Argentine forces from the Falkland Islands in 1982 has visited Argentina and returned full of praise. Carol Thatcher describes her visit in a travel article headlined: I Fell in Love with Argentina... But Don't Tell Mother!
The article contains no criticism, only praise, for Argentina, despite the hate campaign conducted in 1982 against Margaret Thatcher by the Military Junta and the Argentine Media and, more recently, Argentine attempts to have her extradited or tried before the European Court of Human Rights for the sinking of the cruiser Belgrano with the loss of many of her crew.
There is a trace of trepidation in Carol Thatcher's article for having such a controversial, high-profile name but she seems to have encountered little hostility in Argentina.
She writes: "Just as the plane banked over the soupy-looking Rio de la Plata on its approach to Ezeiza Airport, I reminded myself that the surname Thatcher was liable to be a distinct disadvantage in Argentina. The trick would be to avoid the 1982 Falklands War as a topic of conversation. Actually, I hadn't got through the baggage reclaim before a fellow passenger told me what she thought of the war and my mother. I merely listened, feigning jetlag after the overnight flight".
Viewing the Casa Rosada Presidential Palace, journalist Carol Thatcher says its balcony has been "the stage for many a definitive scene in Argentine history... General Galtieri doing his demagogue act during the Falklands campaign or the charismatic appearances by the Perons in the film Evita.... I felt the shades of the Falklands again standing in the shadow of a statue of General Belgrano. To me, that name meant the Argentine cruiser torpedoed in the campaign. Here, Manuel Belgrano is a revered military hero and designer of the blue and white national flag".
In a well-written, well-researched article, she describes a pleasant stay at the "glorious" Estancia El Ombu de Areco, about 100 kilometres from Buenos Aires where she rode, and was briefed by a "charming English-speaking guide, Carla, on the gaucho tradition and the romantic place this icon has in today's Argentina. She attended a gaucho fiesta and was intrigued by their leather, silver-encrusted belts. She speaks of famous gaucho literature from the town of San Antonio de Areco, the epic poem Martin Fierro penned by Jose Hernandez, and of the film of the novel Don Segundo Sombra, partly made in the town.
She tried the traditiona