Leopoldo Galtieri

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We must all believe in ourselves and together raise our national banner high as a symbol of freedom so that it can fly sovereignly and definitively over our great fatherland.

Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli (15 July 1926 – 12 January 2003) was an Argentine general and politician of Italian descent who served as President of Argentina from December 1981 to June 1982. Galtieri exercised his control over Argentina as a military ruler during the National Reorganization Process as leader of the Third Junta with Jorge Anaya and Basilio Lami Dozo.

Galtieri's declining popularity due to his civil rights abuses and the worsening economic crisis in Argentina caused him to order an invasion of the Falkland Islands in April 1982. Galtieri was removed from power after Argentina’s defeat in the Falklands War in June, which led to the restoration of democracy and, in 1986, his prosecution for military misconduct.


  • Safeguarding national honour, without rancour but with firmness demanded by the circumstances, we have recovered the southern islands which are a legitimate part of our national territory. This decision was prompted by the need to put an end to the interminable seccession of evasive and dilatory tactics used by Great Britain to perpetuate its domination over the islands and their zone of influence. That evasive attitude was considered by the national government in the present circumstances as conclusive proof of Great Britain’s lack of good will to begin serious negotiations without delay over the central question of the dispute and to recognize once and for all that their alleged rights stem from an act of seizure.
  • The dispatch of a naval force and the peremptory outcome that Great Britain tried to impose are clear demonstrations that that country persists in addressing the question with arguments based on force, and that the solution is sought through the simple refusal to recognize Argentinian rights. In view of that unacceptable intention, the Argentine Government could have no other response than the one it has just made by taking action. The Argentinian position can in no way be considered a form of aggression against the present inhabitants of the islands. Their rights and ways of life will be respected with the same generosity with which we respected those peoples we liberated during our independence movement. Yet we will not yield to the intimidatory deployment of the British forces; far from using peaceful diplomatic channels, they have threatened the indiscriminate use of those forces. Our forces will act only to the extent strictly necessary. They will in no way disrupt the life of the islanders. On the contrary, they will protect those institutions and persons who agree to coexist with us, but they will not tolerate any excesses either in the islands or on the mainland. We have a clear appreciation of the stance adopted and it is in defence of this stance that the Argentine nation has risen, the whole nation, spiritually and materially.
  • With Christian faith I pray that those who are today our adversaries may understand their error in time and may deeply reflect before persisting in a stance which is rejected by all the free peoples in the world and by all those who had their territory mutiliated and endured colonialism and exploitation. With Christian faith I pray for our men deployed to the southern seas, for your children, husbands, fathers, soldiers, NCOs and officers, who make up the front lines of an Argentine effort that will not stop until final victory is achieved. Invoking the protection of God and His Holy Mother, let us all commit ourselves to complying with our duty, as did the generations of the past century, who did not mind harsh weather, long distances, disease or poverty when it came to defending freedom.
  • We must all believe in ourselves and together raise our national banner high as a symbol of freedom so that it can fly sovereignly and definitively over our great fatherland. This will not prevent us from persisting in our tradition as a peace-loving nation and from respecting all world nations, nor will it prevent us from resuming with dignity, through friendly gestures stemming from our natural generosity, diplomatic negotiations which may give an institutional basis to the situation which we have achieved, clearly safeguard- ing those legitimate interests we have always respected. Our arms will always be extended to conclude noble commitments and to forget past offences for the sake of building a peaceful future for the civilized world. Glory to the great Argentine people
  • Argentina will maintain its freedom of action to protect the nation's interests and honor, which will not be negociated... Argentina is not willing to renounce its historical rights over the islands and withdraw from what is hers the armed forces who are and represent the people of our nation.
  • The nobility... of the Argentine people, in this square and all the country’s squares, causes us to offer our hand to the adversary, but this must not be taken as weak- ness. If it is necessary, the people, whose feelings I try to interpret as President of the nation, will be ready... to offer a hand, a gesture of peace with nobility and in a gesture of peace with honour, but they will also be ready to teach a lesson to anyone who dares to touch a square metre of Argentine territory.
  • The flag of Argentina is raised here. For all the respect I have for the English people, Great Britain should understand that history has gone by, that centuries have passed, the world has evolved and certain things from the past cannot return.
  • The blood that is spilling is not my responsibility. It is the responsibility of Mrs. 'No.'
  • Great Britain, will now have to determine its attitude toward the conflict, and it has the following possibilities: It can accept that the situation will never return to what it was before April 2, in which case we would maintain an attitude of negotiating for the recovery of our sovereignty. Or it can proceed toward the restoration of its colonial regime, with which there would be no security or definitive peace, and the responsibility of deepening the conflict would fall on Great Britain. In any case, the nation united, on its feet, motivated by the sentiment a united cause, will continue marching toward improving and strengthening itself.
  • I am going because the Army did not give me the political support to continue as commander and President of the nation. I am not one of those who abandon the ship in the middle of tempests or difficult hours such as those the nation is living in today. The people of the nation know this.
  • Remember when the British were defeated at Dunkirk during the Second World War? Well, in 1945 they were in Berlin. In other words, the fall of Puerto Argentino will not mean the end of conflict or our defeat. I therefore have no regrets. Indeed, I am not alone in believing that what we did on April 2 was right. All the Argentine people believe this.
  • ... for 149 years, the Argentines have denounced the assault by the British in 1833 when they stole the Falklands, and have tried to recover them through diplomatic channels or through the United Nations for 17 years... British colonization could not continue.
  • [The Falklanders] are all British because the British have never allowed Argentinians to buy land, start businesses, get employment, or simply live there. If I were to go to Rome with enough money to get an apartment, a business, or just settle there, the Italian authorities would let me. The British however have kept these islands as a personal fiefdom and have prohibited Argentinians from settling there.
  • Observe where the islands are located, how the continental shelf extends over that area and connects the coast with the islands. It's easy to see the natural correlation between them and the mainland. Indeed, the Falklands belonged, and will belong, to us both historically and geographically.
  • Foreign debt and inflation have nothing to do with my decision. Indeed, I can assure you that [the Falklands war is] not going to alleviate inflation or debt. It is true that the Falklands have served to unite Argentines. But I swear and repeat that the idea of ​​solving these issues through war has never crossed my mind.
  • Personally, I judged that a British retaliation was improbable. However, I never expected such a disproportionate response. Nobody expected it. Why would a nation in the heart of Europe be affected by some distant islands in the Atlantic which serve no national interest? I don't think it makes sense.
  • My own opinion on Mrs Thatcher is very simple: I think she's unsuited to our historical period, and I say this referring to her as a prime minister, and not as a woman.
  • Even with the loss of Puerto Argentino and without internationalizing the conflict, we should have continued the action in such a way that the enemy would have been faced by serious, permanent and systematic difficulties and risks and be obliged to realize that we Argentines were not going to surrender.

Quotes about Galtieri

  • Few Argentinians sympathise with the Galtieri family or share their views. Like many other military leaders, until his death Galtieri risked abuse or egg throwing if he ventured out of his home.
  • Had it not been for Galtieri's folly, in making that absolutely blatantly unprovoked military invasion of the Falklands, I think the Falkland Islands might well by now have been part of Argentina.
  • Standing well over six-feet tall, broad-shouldered and ramrod straight, he is an imposing military figure. He is considered a "soldier's soldier" who can joke and swear with the best of them and has attracted great loyalty among his juniors. Opposition leaders say he is not a sophisticated analyst, preferring to see the world about him in black and white, and making quick decisions. But since taking power he has displayed a shrewdness that has surprised both friends and foes.

See also

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