Argentina Olympics Ad Reignites UK Falklands Controversy

Argentina Olympics Ad Reignites UK Falklands Controversy

Argentina on Saturday said that a TV spot filmed in the Falklands with an Argentine athlete competing in the 2012 London Summer Olympics was not meant to be a provocation.

The ad shows Argentina hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg running through the Falklands capital Stanley, and exercising on the town’s Great War Memorial, which honors British sailors who died in World War I.

The ad carries the tagline: “To compete on English soil, we train on Argentine soil.”

The ad was aired on Argentine television amid high tensions between the two countries as they mark the 30th anniversary of the Falklands war over the British-held islands still claimed by Argentina as its own.

Created by the Argentine arm of global marketing agency Y and R, it was released by Argentina’s presidency and claims to be a “homage to the fallen and ex-combatants” of the conflict.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Friday branded the clip a “stunt,” and accused Argentina of trying to exploit the Olympics for political purposes.

British Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond in turn called it “tasteless” and “insulting.”

Controversy over the ad “has given the British government the opportunity to say things that have nothing to do with the actual event, as if Argentina had to do it because of a blunder at a summit,” Castro told El Tribuno.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Saturday also criticized Argentina for exploiting Games with the ad.