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Montevideo, November 14th 2018 - 19:44 UTC

Former Islander running for mayor in Cordoba village

Monday, January 29th 2007 - 20:00 UTC
Full article
Mr. Alejandro Betts Mr. Alejandro Betts

Falkland Islands' born Alejandro Betts, 60, who left the islands for good in June 1982 to live in Argentina, is running for mayor of a small town, Aguas de Oro, in Cordoba, reports the Argentine press.

Descendent of a long established family that arrived in the Islands in mid 19th century, Betts is probably the only Islander to have crossed the line to openly embrace the Argentine argument that indisputably the "Islas Malvinas son argentinas". According to the Perfil article, Betts left behind in the Islands, his ageing mother, a daughter and three grand children, the grave of his first wife and an overwhelming feeling among Islanders, including his family, that he's "a traitor". Brought up in one of the many farm islands of the archipelago breeding sheep in circumstances he describes as "an oppressive and solitude life", Betts nevertheless emphasizes that "life under the Argentine (military) dictatorship of the time was more democratic than life in the Islands". "What I will always be grateful for in life is that the territory (Islands) taught me to live at maximum with the absolute minimum. It was hard and we were isolated but accustomed", says Betts. It was in the late seventies while working in Stanley (Puerto Argentino) that Betts begun reading books about the "British usurpation of 1833" and Argentina's legitimate rights over the Malvinas, and then something changed. "It was a liberating discovery, like taking off a weight off my back", explains Betts adding that "my parents had the strong pro-British concept without knowing why. It's something that's passed on generation after generation: England has an absolute right over the territory and nobody questioned if it was true or not". Previous to the 1982 conflict Betts had been working with Argentina's LADE (a government owned airline) office in Stanley which at the time following a UK-Argentine agreement from the seventies was the only air link of the Islands with Comodoro Rivadavia. However at the end of the armed conflict he decided to leave the Islands for Argentina. "It was a difficult decision but inevitable is you want to live following your convictions" and so Betts boarded the Argentine vessel Bahía Paraíso. "We were given two hours to leave the Islands so I left with virtually what I had on. I left a letter to my mother because when I went to say good bye she wasn't in", recalls Betts. His son was already studying in Rosario but the daughter decided to remain. Betts on occasions has been a member of the annual Argentine delegation before the United Nations Decolonization Committee and has spoken in support of Argentina's sovereignty claim over the Falklands/Malvinas. Convinced that the Malvinas and the other South Atlantic islands are Argentine, at the end of the article Betts is quoted saying he believes that the only legal path left for the sovereignty claim is the International Justice Court of The Hague. However the Argentine Foreign Affairs ministry resists the idea because "you can't take to the ICJ a case over which you consider to have full rights". But in spite of distance and time elapsed, some Islands remembrance seems to exist: Agua de Oro is a small village with a population similar to that of the Islands, 2.500.

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

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