With new 50-peso bill, Argentina declares "sovereign love" for Malvinas
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With new 50-peso bill, Argentina declares "sovereign love" for Malvinas

In its latest effort to establish sovereignty over a small but controversial string of Atlantic islands, Argentina has introduced a new bill featuring the archipelago.

The islands, known as the Malvinas in Argentina and the Falklands in the U.K., have long been a point of contention between the two countries. Argentina and England fought a short but bitter war over the territory in 1982. At the end of the 74-day conflict, which resulted in the deaths of 907 people, the U.K. retained control of the archipelago, but Argentina continues to maintain that the islands are Argentine territory.

Since then, Argentina has found numerous creative ways to insist on its sovereignty, from hanging a map of the islands in the presidential palace to mandating that all public transportation display a sign saying “Las Malvinas son Argentinas” (“The Malvinas are Argentine”). Now, it’s looking to put the islands into the hands of every Argentine citizen.

On Monday, Argentina’s Central Bank announced that the new bill, worth 50 pesos (about US$7) would begin circulation through the country’s financial institutions in March.

According to Alejandro Vanoli, President of the Central Bank, the new currency, designed and produced by the country’s Mint House, is aimed at “incorporating a new element of daily use to the inalienable sovereignty demand over the Malvinas Islands.” It is being launched with the slogan “Malvinas Islands: A sovereign love.”

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The front of the bill, featuring a map of the islands. Image: Central Bank of Argentina

The front of the note features a map of the islands, as well as another, smaller map of Latin America and the Caribbean, alluding to the diplomatic support provided by some neighboring countries, which has “transformed the claim to the Malvinas into a regional cause,” according to a press release from the Central Bank.

The bill’s reverse has an image of the gaucho (rancher) Antonio Rivero, who is credited with leading the 1833 resistance movement against the British occupation of the islands.

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The reverse side of the bill. Image: Central Bank of Argentina.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner had previously unveiled the bill’s design on April 2, 2014, the 32nd anniversary of the war over the archipelago.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the sea, Falkland Islanders, who are British citizens and have repeatedly voted against bills that would restore their territory to Argentina, mocked the bill and President Kirchner’s efforts to establish Argentine sovereignty over the islands.

The announcement was hardly met with rousing applause on the mainland, either, where Kirchner has seen her approval ratings plunge amid soaring inflation and the investigation into the mysterious death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who had accused the Kirchner government of conspiring with Iran to shield those responsible for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

Some in Argentina wondered why the government was printing new money rather than focusing on reigning in the country’s economic issues. One comedian suggested that the note may soon enough become a collectors’ item if inflation continues.

“There’s a 50-peso bill in circulation honoring the Malvinas. We’re missing a 500-peso one to honor inflation”

“The Malvinas are devalued…”

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