It is "abundantly clear," that the cruise vessel AIDAcara cancelled her visit to the Falkland Islands planned for December 3, as a direct response to the attack on their agents offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Quebracho militia, stated Falkland Islands Member of Legislative Assembly Mike Summers this morning (pictured).
He said: "They have responded directly to an act of bullying."
Wearing masks to disguise their identities, members of the extremist group protesting that the cruise vessel visits the Falkland Islands, smashed windows, turned over bins and left graffiti on the walls last week. No police were present and no arrests were made.
MLA Summers who is also Chair of the Falkland Islands Tourist Board said the decision for cruise vessel Veendam not to visit the Falklands Islands had still not been made clear, "but all indications are that it is a lot more than just weather and they are probably being threatened the same way."
Both Veendam (Holland America) and the AIDAcara (AIDA Cruises) are part of the powerful Carnival Corporation which also owns Princess Cruises. Princess vessels frequently visit the Falkland Islands. A withdrawal of all Carnival ships could mean a potential 40 per cent loss in terms passengers visiting the Islands.
MLA Summers told Falklands' media this morning: "We haven't contacted the AIDA group directly. I have now written to the CEO of the Carnival group in Miami expressing the Falkland Islands Government's disappointment at the capitulation by the AIDAcara and the apparent withdrawal of the Veendam visits, and asked them to take a corporate view on whether responding to bullying in this manner is an appropriate thing for a group like Carnival to be doing. Carnival UK has already given assurances that it wouldn't give in to bullying."
Falkland Islands Tourist Board Managing Director Tony Mason will this week meet with the Vice President responsible for scheduling for Holland America. She has already assured Mr Mason she will give a full briefing on the position for Holland America.
MLA Summers said: "There is a lot going on at different levels."
According to a report in the Daily Mail the British Foreign Office gave a strongly worded statement that condemned the protests by and implied that the Argentine Government shared the blame.
The statement said: "We are deeply concerned to learn that a cruise company has taken the decision to cancel a visit to the Falkland Islands following a violent act of intimidation against their shipping agents in Buenos Aires.
"It is shameful that elements within a large country like Argentina should seek to strangle the economy of a small group of Islands. Such action benefits nobody and only condemns those who lend it support.
"We have made this very clear to the government of Argentina. We will take every necessary measure to support the Falkland Islanders."
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