Roberto Eduardo Viola

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Roberto Eduardo Viola
Roberto Viola con banda presidencial.jpg
President of Argentina
De facto
In office
29 March 1981 – 11 December 1981
Preceded byJorge Rafael Videla
Succeeded byCarlos Alberto Lacoste (interim)
Personal details
Born(1924-10-13)13 October 1924
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died30 September 1994(1994-09-30) (aged 69)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Political partyNone
Spouse(s)Nélida Giorgio Valente[1]
Military service
AllegianceArgentina Argentina
Branch/serviceCoat of arms of Argentina.svg Argentine Army
RankTG-EA.png Lieutenant General

Roberto Eduardo Viola (13 October 1924 – 30 September 1994) was an Argentine military officer who briefly served as president of Argentina from 29 March to 11 December 1981 as a military dictatorship.[1]

Early life[edit]

He was born as Roberto Eduardo Viola Prevedini on 13 October 1924. His parents were Italian immigrants Angelo Viola and Rosa Maria Prevedini, both from Casatisma, a town in the Province of Pavia.[2]

President of Argentina[edit]

Viola appointed Lorenzo Sigaut as finance minister, and it became clear that Sigaut (and his protégé Domingo Cavallo) were looking for ways to reverse some of the economic policies of Videla's minister José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz. Notably, Sigaut abandoned the sliding exchange rate mechanism and devalued the peso, after boasting that "they who gamble on the dollar, will lose". Argentines braced for a recession after the excesses of the plata dulce ("sweet money") years, which destabilized Viola's position.

Viola was also the victim of infighting within the armed forces. After being replaced as Navy chief, Eduardo Massera started looking for a political space to call his own, even enlisting the enforced and unpaid services of political prisoners held in concentration camps by the regime; the mainstream of the Junta's support was strongly opposed to Massera's designs and to any attempt to bring about more "populist" economic policies.

Ousted in a coup[edit]

Viola found his maneuvering space greatly reduced, and was ousted by a military coup in December 1981, led by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Lieutenant General Leopoldo Galtieri, who soon became President; the official explanation given for the ousting was Viola's alleged health problems. Galtieri swiftly appointed Roberto Alemann as finance minister and presided over the build-up and pursuit of the Falklands War.

Later years[edit]

After the collapse of the military regime and the election of Raúl Alfonsín in 1983, Viola was arrested, judged for human rights violations committed by the military junta during the Dirty War, and sentenced to 17 years in prison, his health deteriorated in prison; Viola was pardoned by Carlos Menem in 1990 together with all junta members. He died on 30 September 1994, two weeks before his 70th birthday.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Roberto Viola, 69, Who Headed Argentine Military Dictatorship". The New York Times. 2 October 1994.
  2. ^ "Viola".
Military offices
Preceded by
Jorge Videla
As General Commander of the Army
Commander-in-Chief of the Army
Succeeded by
Leopoldo Galtieri
Political offices
Preceded by
Jorge Videla
President of Argentina
Succeeded by
Carlos Lacoste