After yesterday’s surprising photograph, in which Pope Francis could be seen holding a sign calling for Argentina and the UK to resume dialogue over the Malvinas (AKA Falklands) sovereignty dispute, a backlash was bound to happen.

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner last night broke her unusual social media silence and tweeted the photo, while Secretary of Malvinas Affairs Daniel Filmus also celebrated that the Pope was “joining the campaign”.

Some on the other side of the argument were not happy. Gavin Phillip Short, a Twitter-happy and outspoken member of the islands’ Legislative Assembly, was quick to address the situation and directly responded to Filmus via Twitter.

In the meantime, the Vatican is trying to contain the situation before it spirals down into an international crisis. Last night, Vatican spokesman Thomas Rosica told Bloomberg:

“The Holy Father did not even realize he had this object in his hands. He has discovered this just now after seeing the photograph. The picture was taken during the general audience when many people give items to the Holy Father.”


However, Gustavo Hoyo, the man behind the Dialogo por Malvinas campaign, told La Nación that Pope Francis was very aware of what the sign said and that once the photograph was taken he told him to “keep going strong.”

Somebody’s doing the lyin’.

The Pope is no stranger to acting like a sort of mediator when it comes to international disputes. After all, both Barack Obama and Raúl Castro have admitted that it was his direct intervention that helped both countries resume bilateral relations after many decades of not getting along. So having the Pope’s help on this one would be undeniably positive for Argentina and could bring the UK finally back to the negotiating table.

But while yesterday’s move would not prove unsurprising, it is certainly a departure from his previous modus operandi, which involved high-ranking diplomatic officials secretly meeting at night at the Vatican and absolute secrecy about his actions.

Short (who calls himself “a fairly cantankerous old git”) has been tweeting the Bloomberg article and accusing the Argentine government of “pulling one on the Pope.”

Professional Twitter troll account @falklands_utd was not happy with the whole thing either and tweeted (then deleted) that Cristina was “an old goat” (?). Since they seemingly crossed a line with that one (?), they tried to tone things down by asking the Pope to apologize.