BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – The Argentine government has sparked media buzz with a 90-second television ad that ties its dispute with Britain over the Falkland Islands to this summer’s Olympics in London.
The clip shows Fernando Zylberberg, captain of Argentina’s Olympic field hockey team, training in and around Stanley, the capital of the British territory. At one point, Zylberberg kisses the soil while doing push-ups.
The ad calls the islands by their Argentine name, the Malvinas, and carries the tagline: “To compete on British soil, we train on Argentine soil.”
Falklands legislator Ian Hansen told the daily Penguin News that the ad was filmed without permission and shows Argentina’s disrespect for the islanders, because it doesn’t show any of them.
“We determine our own future, and we will not be bullied by the Argentine government, neither by their attempts to undermine our economy, nor by their constant misrepresentation of the truth, nor by pieces of cheap and disrespectful propaganda such as this,” Hansen said. “It is hugely disappointing to see sport abused in this way, when it is so often seen as a vehicle for unity. It seems an act of desperation to sink to this.”
Zylberberg told Buenos Aires radio stations Thursday that he passed himself off as participant in a March 18 marathon involving both Argentine and British veterans of the two countries’ 1982 war over the islands, which sit about 250 miles (460 kilometers) east of the Argentine coast.
The clip ends with the words: “Homage to the fallen and the veterans of the Malvinas. Presidency of the Nation.”
“I spent all week running on the island,” Zylberberg said. “I crossed it all doing different takes. It’s an incredible experience because we were surrounded by veterans.”
The Argentine and British governments have spent much of this year verbally sparring over the remote islands, with both sides accusing each other of aggression and arrogance.
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