Falkland islanders lead a parade on their horses in Stanley, March 10, 2013. Voters in the remote British-ruled Falkland Islands hold a referendum on their future that seeks to challenge Argentina's increasingly vocal sovereignty claim. Marcos Brindicci/Reuters
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner throws flowers into the Bahia de Ushuaia (Ushuaia Bay) to pay homage to the fallen soldiers on the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War April 2, 2012. Relations between Britain and Argentina, which went to war over the Falklands, are at their chilliest in years as Buenos Aires launches a multi-pronged diplomatic offensive to assert its claim to sovereignty over the South Atlantic islands. Enrique Marcarian/Reuters
Falklands islander June Besley-Clarck wears a wig with the Union Jack colours as she arrives to the Town Hall polling station in Stanley, March 11, 2013. Marcos Brindicci/Reuters
Falklands bomb disposal veteran Major John Phillips stands by the Armed Forces memorial during the 30th anniversary commemorations of the Falklands conflict at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, central England, April 2, 2012. Darren Staples/Reuters
Farmers attend a sheep auction in Saladero, Falkland Islands, March 16, 2012. Marcos Brindicci/Reuters
Falkland islanders Nancy Mansilla from Argentina and her husband, Joseph Reid, who was born in the Falklands, pose with their children Zoe Meg (c.) and Owen Joseph in Port Stanley, March 16, 2012. Marcos Brindicci/Reuters
Old houses, some dating from the 1800s, are seen in Stanley, Falkland Islands, March 4, 2012. Falkland Islanders are still bristling over the invasion by Argentina 30 years ago, but they're not complaining about its aftermath. The 1982 invasion, led by Argentina's dictators, and the subsequent war with Britain launched a process that transformed the islands from a sleepy backwater of sheep farms into a prosperous outpost whose residents enjoy one of the highest per capita incomes in the Western Hemisphere. Michael Warren/AP
Britain's Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and a Royal Air Force helicopter pilot, sits at the controls of a Sea King helicopter, March 31, 2011. Prince William will be deployed to the politically sensitive Falkland Islands in 2012 as an air force search and rescue pilot. John Stillwell/AP
Demonstrators burn a British flag outside the British embassy in Buenos Aires on Feb. 2, 2012. Activists protested against the arrival of Britain's Prince William to the Falkland Islands, also known as Las Malvinas in Spanish, for a planned military stint. London has controlled the Falkland islands, about 300 miles off the Argentine coast, since 1833. Marcos Brindicci/Reuters
Falklands islander Wayne Brewar shows the remains of an Argentine Mirage-Dagger on Sept. 9, 2005, that was shot down by the British forces during the Falklands war in Port Howard. Enrique Marcarian/Reuters
Britain's Prince Charles leans on his walking stick as he looks at a colony of penguins on Sea Lion Island off the coast of the Falkland Islands on March 14, 1999. Prince Charles was the most senior British royal to visit the Falkland Islands since the 72 day bloody conflict with Argentina. Dylan Martinez/AP
Argentine soldiers patrol along Ross Road in Port Stanley during the Falklands War (Guerra de Las Malvinas) between Argentina and Britain in Port Stanley in this May 4, 1982 photo. The war resulted in the deaths of 255 British and about 650 Argentine soldiers. Marcos Brindicci/Reuters
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher leaves 10 Downing Street, her official residence in London, April 14, 1982, for an emergency session of Parliament on the Falklands crisis. She called it the worst moment of her life. It came in March 1982 during the days before the Falklands War, after Argentina established an unauthorized presence on Britain’s South Georgia island amid talk of a possible invasion of the Falklands, long held by Britain. Bob Dear/AP
Sergio Massa marches down a corridor, casting aside his suit jacket and rolling up his shirtsleeves – as if preparing for a schoolyard tussle – before facing the camera: “If they want to fight, we’re going to fight,” he says.
That’s the controversial TV spot Mr. Massa, who is running for a congressional seat in Argentina’s upcoming midterm elections, chose for his campaign. But he is not the only politician to adopt an aggressive tone against the Front for Victory, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s ruling alliance.
“Her or you” is lawmaker Francisco de Narváez’s polarizing slogan. Meanwhile, the Front for Victory has implored voters to “choose love over hate” in today’s open primaries – in effect a mass poll for the decisive midterms on Oct. 27. The results will determine Kirchner’s level of support after a turbulent year of mass protests and unpopular economic policies.
The campaigns lay bare a widening fissure here between government supporters and critics that some warn could lead to long-term social and cultural divisions. “The polarizing dynamic has become impossible to control,” says Atilio Borón, a political author and sociologist in Buenos Aires.