The myths surrounding Alexander Betts are beginning to unravel. He is the Falkland Islander who went to Argentina at the end of the 1982 Falklands war; adopted the Spanish version of his name, and portrayed himself as an honourable man who had carefully studied Falklands’ history and reached the conclusion that the Falklands belonged to Argentina.
Over the decades since then, he has become something of an Argentine hero, and Argentina’s preferred spokesmen at the UN Decolonisation Committee for its sovereignty claim to the Falklands.
Islanders have long known that Betts claim to have studied history is a tissue of lies, that he never studied history while he was in the Falklands, but left for Argentina in order to be with his Argentine mistress, for whom he had abandoned his wife, who was pregnant by him at the time, and their baby daughter.
Today, for the first time, a major Argentine newspaper, Clarin, has commented on his conspicuous absence from the Argentine delegation to the UN Decolonisation meeting, which is discussing the Falklands in New York today.
And, quoting statements in the British press by the family he abandoned in the Falklands, Clarin has also revealed his dishonourable motive for leaving the Falklands. It has mentioned that he used to be a strong supporter of British sovereignty (which Islanders know only changed when he met his Argentine lover). And its article also comments on the fact that he had his old Falklands address put onto a new Argentine National Identity card last year - although the house concerned has long belonged to someone else. This allowed him to vote in a provincial election last weekend in Tierra del Fuego, which claims jurisdiction over the Falklands, something which attracted considerable praise for him in the local Argentine press.
Last, but not least, Clarin points out that it has tried to get Betts’ side of the story, but he has not replied to its enquiries.
A translation of Clarin’s article is below:
“The ‘Argentine Kelper’ didn’t go to the United Nations this Year”.
There are myths that become taboo and difficult to contradict. Over the last three decades, an image has been created for all Argentines of Alexander Jacob Betts Goss as a “Good Kelper” (Falkland Islander).
The descendant of a typical family of British settlers in the archipelago, where he was born, he immigrated here the same year as the 1982 War, and completely embraced the history and reasons for the Argentine claim to the Islands. What’s more, already having chosen to be known as Alejandro Jacobo, and having taken up Argentine nationality, he has become one of the Kelpers preferred by the Kirchner government which, year after year, has made him into its principal petitioner at the Decolonisation Committee where they will deal with the Malvinas issue today.
This year, in the Government they state that Betts will not be part of the proceedings. Last weekend, Governor Fabiana Rios, invited him to stand for election as a deputy for Parlasur, to represent Tierra del Fuego, where he went to vote with his new National Identity Document as the National Constitution makes this the province which includes the Malvinas. Faced with repeated questions from Clarin as to why he was not going to be in the national delegation this year, the Government has not given any answer.
By contrast, from London and the Islands a crusade has been launched to expose some shady aspects of his life. British professor Peter Willetts accused him of lying and states that he has a letter written by Betts to the local press in 1978 in which Betts criticises the British Government for being soft on Argentina. And recently the Daily Mailpublished statements from the woman who was his second wife. Rosa Betts and her daughter Magaly Betts accused him of having left the Islands not for political reasons, but to “follow an Argentine lover”. Magaly accused him of abandoning her mother when she was pregnant by him, and of not wanting anything more to do with them.
Betts did something else that is difficult to understand: he had the address of a house in the Malvinas, which belongs to someone else, written into the DNI that they gave him last year.
Clarin has sent emails to Betts in order to talk to him about these matters, but he has not replied.