Galtieri, Leopoldo Fortunato (1926–2003)

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Galtieri, Leopoldo Fortunato (1926–2003)

Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri, born July 15, 1926, was an Argentine military officer and politician who was de facto president of Argentina from 1981 to 1982.

As a young graduate of the Military Academy, Galtieri pursued further studies in the School of the Americas, where he received training in counter-insurgency methods. Following the coup d'état of March 24, 1976, he was in charge of the illegal repression in Rosario, in the province of Santa Fe. In 1981, during the de facto presidency of Roberto Viola, he became commander of the Army, and developed close ties with the conservative government of the United States. As a member of the Military Junta, an organization with executive and legislative powers over and above those of the president, he stood out as the leader of the most hardline sector of the army and conspired against Viola, accusing him of being soft on the political parties. He plotted with Admiral Anaya, commander of the Navy, to return the Falkland Islands to Argentine control, and in December 1981 the Military Junta appointed him president of the nation in the midst of a profound economic crisis and a prolonged wave of civil unrest against the dictatorship. On April 2, 1981, with the hope of bolstering the political capital of the "Process" and heading up a controlled institutionalization of military domination, the Armed Forces occupied the Falkland Islands, which were then under British control. On June 14, the Argentine forces surrendered in defeat. Galtieri was forced to resign.

With the return of democracy, he was tried for crimes committed during the "Process" and sentenced to prison by a military tribunal for negligence during the war. In 1990 he was pardoned by President Carlos Menem, but in 2002 he was convicted and sentenced for the kidnapping of infants during the dictatorship. He died January 12, 2003.

See alsoArgentina: The Twentieth Century; Dirty War; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Viola, Roberto Eduardo.


Cardoso, Oscar Raúl, Ricardo Kirschbaum, and Eduardo Van Der Kooy. Malvinas, la trama secreta. Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1992.

Freedman, Lawrence, and Virginia Gamba-Stonehouse. Signals of War: The Falklands Conflict of 1982. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Novaro, Marcos, and Vicente Palermo. La dictadura militar. Buenos Aires: Paidós, 2003.

                                    Vicente Palermo