Obituary of a criminal

Former Argentine Dictator Leopoldo Galtieri died. The de facto head of state had conducted the military invasion to Falkland Islands in 1982

The former Juntas dictator Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri died at the age of 76 due to a pancreatic cancer. The General was under house arrest for human rights violations during the military regime he headed from December 1981 to June 1982.

Galtieri started his criminal career in 1949 when he left the School of the Americas in 1949. This military institution located in Georgia, USA was a real training camp for the repression of leftist movements all along Latin America during the 1970's. The coordination of these terrorist activities, named "Condor Operation" left hundreds thousands of deaths during the military regimes in the region. Galtieri was one of the executors of such policies.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Second Body of the Army from 1976 to 1979, Galtieri organized the abduction, execution and torture of hundreds of Argentine and foreign citizens. As a whole, he was accused of responsibility for 711 political assassinations committed during these years, most of them in the City of Rosario, country's second largest.

However, the world will remember him as the Commander who declared war to the United Kingdom on the sovereign of the Malvinas Islads - Falklands for the British. Galtieri seized power as part of an internal conflict inside the Argentine Armed Forces in December 1981. Then, he became de facto President of Argentina until 17 July 1982, when he had to resign three days after Argentina surrender to the United Kingdom.

A tortuous life was waiting for the torturer. After the conflict, a martial law condemned him to death due to the poor conduction of the war. His lack of sense drove to death to 649 Argentine soldiers, poor equipped and badly trained for the battle. Galtieri was sure his friend in the USA would help him in the war against UK, ignoring the most basic lessons of history. In a desperate last attempt he also dared to ask for Soviet help. His affection for whiskey became known and jokes about it became popular. One of them says: Galtieri had an American Advisor at his Foreign Department... Johnny Walker.

Despite the sentence, the Army Supreme Tribunal commuted his punishment to 12 years in prison. In 1990, President Menem freed him, together with other Army officials. Amid them was Admiral Emilio Massera, who will soon join Galtieri in hell, as cannot recover from a long illness.

In July 2002 Galtieri was prosecuted again by Federal courts for human rights violations during the military regime and placed under house arrest for taking part in the abduction, torture and execution of 20 leftist guerrillas and others.

He suffered from pancreatic cancer and died Monday morning after a short staying in hospital.

This is a sad story; not for Galtieri of course, he was a criminal of the worst kind. But for the whole country that sees how its old executioners die without punishment.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

Photo: Galtieri and the Pope in a meeting during the War on the South Atlantic Ocean.

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