By Barney Henderson
Wednesday February 29 2012
In an interview with Chilean television, Waters, who is on tour in South America, allegedly said he was “as ashamed as I possibly could be of our colonial past … When we were out raping and plundering and stealing”.
The reported comments came as Argentina’s industry minister called for all British imports to be banned as tensions escalate between the two countries ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict.
A journalist for the Chilean TVN state channel claimed Waters had made the comments during an exclusive interview on Tuesday. Amaro Gómez-Pablos tweeted: “Roger Waters was categorical: Las Malvinas belong to Argentina.”
In a later press conference in Chile, Waters was more cautious, stating: “Clearly there needs to be a solution to the problem of the varying claims [to the Falklands] – the claims are so convoluted and so old, going back as they do to the 17th century. It’s not a simple situation.
“My view is that certainly it saved Margaret Thatcher‘s political career at the time at the cost of a great many Argentine and British lives, which disgusted me then and still does now. I was never a huge fan of Margaret Thatcher.”
Pink Floyd‘s twelfth album, The Final Cut, was heavily influenced by the Falklands conflict, with several critical references to Baroness Thatcher.
The introductory track, The Post War Dream, includes the line “Oh Maggie, Maggie, what have we done?” – an apparent reference to the sinking of the Belgrano, which left 368 Argentine sailors dead.
Earlier this month, Hollywood actor Sean Penn stated that Britain‘s stance over the Falklands was “colonialist, ludicrous and archaic,” calling the Duke of Cambridge’s deployment to the disputed islands “unthinkable”.
In a move that has heightened tensions between the two countries, Industry Ministry Debora Giorgi met at least 20 business leaders who import British goods, suggesting they replace British suppliers with those that respect Argentina’s “sovereignty claims and resources,” according to the ministry.
“The government is sending a message to those who still use colonialism as a way to gain access to others’ natural resources,” the source said.
Prime Minister David Cameron‘s spokesman Steve Field said on Wednesday it is “very sad that Argentina continues with their approach of confrontation, not co-operation”.
He says Britain is a major importer of Argentinian goods, and warns that hostility is “not in Argentina’s economic interests”.
The proposal comes a day after Argentina prevented two cruise ships from docking at one of its ports following a visit to the Falkland Islands.
Argentina has received the backing of Latin American countries for its claim of sovereignty over the remote, wind-lashed islands, which were occupied by Britain in 1833.
The dispute erupted into warfare April 2, 1981 when Argentine troops seized the islands, only to be routed in a 74-day war that claimed the lives of 649 Argentines and 255 Britons.
Diplomatic friction between Argentina and Britain has intensified since 2010, when the Government authorised oil exploration in the waters near the islands.
– Barney Henderson