147: DEAR POPE #5: Britain destroyed your native land – are you angry?

Dear Mr Bergoglio

As head of an international institution like the Roman Catholic church you are expected to be even handed, and not to favour or discriminate against one country rather than an other. I wonder though if, in view of what Britain did to your native Argentina in the past, you don’t have some lingering resentment towards this country?

For many years, Europe’s leading expert on Britain’s relations with the ‘third world’ was André Gundar   Frank.  I met him at Open University summer school on ‘Third World Studies’ at the University of East Anglia. Do you know they have 2 water buffalo grazing the grass on campus, and they are named ‘Andre’ and ‘Gundar’! I would like to quote what Dr Frank said in 1966:

“The expansion of Buenos Aires as a satellite of Great Britain and the introduction of free trade in the interest of the ruling groups of both metropoles destroyed the manufacturing and much of the remainder of the economic base of the previously relatively prosperous interior almost entirely. manufacturing was destroyed by foreign competition, lands were taken and concentrated into latifundia by the rapaciously growing export economy. Distribution of income became much more unequal and the previously developing regions became simple satellites of Buenos Aires and through it of London.”

More recently, of course, a British Prime Minister has declared war on Argentina, over the issue of the Malvinas Islands, and Britain committed war crimes against the conscripted  service personnel of your country like when she torpedoed the battleship Belgrano which was steaming away from the British-imposed ‘exclusion zone’ at the time. Recordings of the screams of the troops on board as they sunk to their deaths were played back over and over on board the sub that launched the torpedoes, to great general amusement.

I was very pleased when, as a small gesture of defiance, someone plastered a street sign for ‘Falklands Road’ near where I live with anti-war stickers.

Most of us here in Britain do not support wars or colonial exploitation, so I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us.


Peter Turner


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