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Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli was an Argentine general and President of Argentina from December 22, 1981 to June 18, 1982, during the last military dictatorship (known officially as the National Reorganization Process). The death squad Intelligence Battalion 601 directly reported to him. He was removed from power soon after the British retook the Falklands Islands, whose invasion he had ordered.
In March 1981, Galtieri visited the United States and was warmly received, as the Reagan administration viewed the regime as a against communism. National Security Advisor Richard V. Allen described him as a "majestic general." An adherent to the Argentine military's Cold War-era doctrine of "ideological frontiers," Galtieri secured his country's support for the Contras in August, sending advisers to help organize the Nicaraguan Democratic Force , as well as training FDN leaders in Argentine bases. His support for this initiative, in turn, allowed Galtieri to remove a number of rival generals and, in December 1981, he rose to the Presidency of Argentina by means of a coup that ousted General Roberto Viola. Argentine support became the principal source of funds and training for the Contras during Galtieri's tenure.Scott, Peter Dale, and Marshall, Jonathan. Cocaine Politics. University of California Press, 1991.
Galtieri retained direct control of the army and did not appoint a new commander-in-chief. He appointed conservative economist and publisher Roberto Alemann as Economy Minister. Alemann inherited an economy in deep recession in the aftermath of Jose Alfredo Martinez de Hoz's deregulatory and free trade policies of the late 1970s. Alemann slashed spending, began selling off government-owned industries (with only minor success), enacted a tight monetary policy, and ordered salaries frozen (amid 130% inflation). The Central Bank Circular 1050, which tied mortgage rates to the value of the US dollar locally, was maintained, however, leading to further deepening of the crisis; GDP fell by 5%, and business investment by 20% over the weakened levels of 1981.Argentina: From Insolvency to Growth. World Bank Press, 1993.
New Documents Describe Key Death Squad Under Former Army Chief Galtieri
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