Falklands Argentine veterans

Who are the men that went to the Malvinas Islands? That was the first question we ask ourselves in order to start this essay: to put a face and a name tho those who suffered on the flesh this war. To be able to understand the dimension of this event through their testimonies, their expressions, what does it mean to have survived the war of Malvinas. How this historic episode was to them a point of no return in their lives and how everything that came afterwards was experienced through the light of this dark moment.

The essay searches within the stories of the different subjects, with their specific lives: soldiers, officers, civilians. Their distinctive memories are the result of the differences of rank, but also of origin and social class. 30 years later, the relevance of this episode allow us to think their stories in parallel with the history of the country. Produced with Sub.coop

Poster of the General Confederation of Labour trade union, claiming that the Falkland Islands belong to Argentina. Buenos Aires, San Telmo.

Jorge Goeing, 72 years old, Air force retired soldier Back then, I had already been at the Malvinas. I worked at the air force inteligence department. Whenever I went there, I stayed at the house of a friend from Uruguay who lived there. When I saw her again during war, after the attack, she said to me: "but you lived in my house! we gave you hospitality and now you do this to us?"

Francisco Alisalde, 56 years old, ensurance salesman, civilian. "Back then, I worked as a radio operator on a ship from the navy reserve. That boat was not prepared at all for war. We were attacked on may 25th. I remember that I counted 25 bullet impacts on my cabin. Later, on during another attack on the ground, I got my hand injured. I had to be operated 5 times."

Falklands war memorial in Buenos Aires, near the ministry of defense

Jose Mario Mauricio, 70 years old, Navy Admiral, retired. On that time I was a commodore captain and I went there to support the landing. I stayed only for a few days and the I got relieved. The only thing was I did not have meanings to return. Luckily I run into a friend who gave me a ride. Somehow, I hitch-hike back from war."

Juan Carlos Ianuzzo, 70 years old, retired Navy officer I was a commodore offier. The ship were "I was got attacked but luckily the bomb did not explode. We sail for awhile with that thing on board. It wasn't untill we returned to the continent that we noticed the bomb was argentinian."

Falklands war memorial in Buenos Aires, plaza San Martin.

Mario Oshiro, 51 years old, retired taxi driver, conscript soldier. "We were scaping from the british marines on a vehicle, with another soldier and a petty soldier. My partner and I, we went down to see if there was anybody on our bunker. It was empty. In that moment, a mortar strike passed near by. Later on, we notices that the petty soldier has left with the vehicle. He left us alone in the middle of the battle field. We tried to run, but since we werent eating much, it was almost impossible. We were lucky enough to survive."

Jorge Tedesco, 50 years old, city counsillor who works on the matter of veterans rights, conscript soldier. "When they call me to the war, i went through many different emotions: since my military service was almost over, I thought they were kidding me. Then, when we arrived I felt like we were doing something good for our nation. And in the moment of actual combat... if anybody dares to say that he didn't experienced fear, he hasn't really been on the battle field. When the british made us prisoners, those were the worse days of my life: they broke my knees with the butt of a rifle."

graffiti on a Falklands war memorial.

Miguel Anderfuhrn 51 years old, conscript soldier "At the beggining, beside the cold, everything was fine, but after 40 days, there was a time when we did not eat for almost a week. (...) At one point when the british were attacking us, I remember that our officer decided to run away all by him self without even telling us to retriete. The first four dead men of my Regiment (the N?7) died out of hunger. They went to look for food and they ended up in a minefield. We have to search for them and their bodies were all torned apart. After that, our officers punished us for having left our positions."

Marcelo Olindi, 50 years old, worker on an elementary school, conscript soldier. I worked on the food storage but I lost 35 kilos! It has to be said that the so called "portions" were nothing but soap and toilet paper."

Norberto Jorge Flores, 49 years old, retired court officer, conscript soldier. "To me war was the attempt to survive. I was skinny, just like today. I watched my partners getting thinner. I could not allowed myself to go through that. So everything summed up to a search for food."

Falklands Argentine veterans local in the city of La Plata.

Rodrigo Mariano Paz, 49 years old, former employee of the American British Tobacco Company, conscript soldier. "On a scale of post-traumatic syndrom from 0 to 4, they gave me 3.2, according to a civilian psychiatrist, because the military ones kept saying that I was just fine. To me the hardest part was the post-war. But I was lucky enough to find a therapist that helped me over come that situation."

Jorge Rey, 50 years old, court officer, conscript soldier. "Our generation was not prepared. They gave me a mortar, a weapon that I have never seen before. I shot in a mechanical way, without understanding the consequences. When it broke down I stopped and I felt really bad. On the other hand, I was able to save injured partners and that made me feel good. I was 19 years old, I lost 8 kilos. When the british arrived, we finally got the chance to eat and to wash ourselves up."

"Sovereignty is recover what is ours" Peronist youth poster in the streets of Buenos Aires.

Alejandro Diego, 50 years old, former executive of Teching Company, conscript soldier. I grew up on the good neighborhoods. My folks got an arrangement during my military service, so I could be located on the Meterology department at the Ministry of Defense. But the High Command decided that around 80 of us had to go also to the Malvinas. My father told me to leave to Uruguay and to wait for things to calm down. But I wanted to go anyway. The only trauma I got from the war was this recurrent dream in which there was a new war and my dad said to me again that I should go to Uruguay, and then I decided once more to go to war where I suffered the same horrible attacks. I had that dream for awhile and it stopped one day, after I decided to listen to my dad's advice, inside the dream."

Edgardo A. Dell'Elicine, 74 years oldo, retired merchant navy captain, civilian. I was captain of the "Rio Carcara?a" ship. On may 16th we noticed that for the first time in a long time the sky was clear. I told my crew that they should get ready, and that they should move to starboard and not to port. It was my guess: that the enemy was going to attack with the sun on the back of the airplanes. So at turn port, the ship looked like a strainer, fulled with holes. Luckily it didn't got to the other side, otherwise I wouldnt be here today. The ship received a medal... it was absurd, it was like giving a medal to the butt of a soldiers rifle."

Hall of the merchant navy captains' centre. Photos and paintings of the civilian ships used by the Army during the Falklands War.