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Even Chile, which has long had tense relations with Argentina and favored Britain in the Falklands War, is changing. Chile’s conservative government said it now considers support for Argentina’s claim to the Falkland a matter of “national policy.”

The accusation of British colonialism is largely based on the United Nations classifying the archipelago as one of 16 “non-self-governing territories,” Ms. del Castillo said.

London insists that Falkland islanders have a “right of self-determination” and want to remain part of the British Commonwealth. Most of the islands’ 3,000 residents have British ancestors and hold British passports.

“The islanders don’t want to have anything to do with Argentina,” Ms. del Castillo said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has accused Argentina of colonialism because it wants control over a British territory.

“What the Argentinians have been saying recently, I would argue, is actually far more like colonialism because these people want to remain British and the Argentinians want them to do something else,” he said in Parliament.

Domestically, meanwhile, Ms. Fernandez has tried to use the issue to change her image from a hyperpartisan politician to, in her words, “the president of [all] 40 million Argentines.”

In a once-unthinkable move, she invited congressional opponents to join her for her televised address and went out of her way to praise the military, with which she has had a lukewarm relation.

Francisco de Narvaez, an opponent of the president’s, insisted that her autocratic style has not changed. However, he shares her view of the Falklands as “a national cause.”