Alberto Teisaire (May 20, 1891 – September 11, 1962) was an Argentine Navy officer and Vice President of Argentina.
Alberto Teisaire was born in 1891 to Clementina Cejas and Eduardo Teisaire, in Mendoza, Argentina. He enrolled in the Argentine Naval Academy in 1908 and, upon graduation in 1912, was accepted to the United States Naval Academy. There, he was commissioned as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy, during World War I. Returning to Argentina, he married Duilia Fayo Lonne and was eventually named Commander of the Navy’s flagship, the historic Sarmiento Frigate.
Teisaire later taught at the Argentine Naval Academy and held numerous policy-making posts in that service, including ones in the Naval Requisitions Department, the Argentine Naval delegations in the United States and Europe, as head of the Navy’s River Fleet (1938), and as assistant director of the important Navy Mechanics’ School, in 1940 custom soccer t shirts, where he specialized in the instruction of navigation and hydrology.
A power vacuum, caused by the replacement of President Pedro Ramírez by a fellow General (Edelmiro Farrell), led to Teisaire’s February 29, 1944 appointment as Navy Secretary. He became a reliable ally of the new War and Labor Minister, Col. Juan Perón, whose support of organized labor and their platform had provoked growing rivalries within the military regime. Teisaire became Perón’s most prominent ally in the government when, in July, he was named Interior Minister (at the time, overseeing law enforcement). He retired as Rear Admiral in 1945 to pursue a seat in the Argentine Senate, ahead of the February 1946 general elections.
Elected as Senator on Perón’s Labor Party ticket, Teisaire represented the city of Buenos Aires, a district normally leaning towards Perón’s chief opposition, the centrist UCR. He, however, did not enjoy support from the President’s influential First Lady, Eva Perón, who refused his request to take part in her 1947 “Rainbow Tour” because (in her words): “I did not want that fruitcake creating a scandal in Paris, when for that I already have Paquito, who at least makes me laugh.”
Teisaire did well in his career in the Senate, even so. He was named Provisional President of the Senate in 1947, and was reelected Senator in 1951. He was elected to the Constitutional Assembly of 1949, which drafted a replacement of the 1853 Constitution of Argentina (reinstated in 1957). He was named head of the Peronist Party’s Superior Council in 1952, effectively making him the third-most powerful member of the administration (after Interior Minister Ángel Borlenghi and Perón, himself). Teisaire introduced the Lions Club into Argentina in 1954, and received the German Order of Merit.
Controversy surrounding the President’s in-laws and political violence both by and against his Peronist movement dominated headlines in the first half of 1953, and Perón took the opportunity of upcoming legislative polls to test his popularity. The Argentine Constitution did not require it at the time; but a special election was announced to replace the late Vice President, Hortensio Quijano, and Perón nominated Teisaire as his candidate for the post.
The April 1954 elections increased the Peronists’ overwhelming majority in Congress and elected Teisaire Vice President by a 30% margin of victory. Following this success, Perón began to dispense with his hitherto warm relations with the Catholic Church by banning a number of their organizations and periodicals, and with the unprecedented, December 22 legalization of divorce and prostitution. The Vice President supported these moves, arguing that Argentina’s Catholic majority were mostly non-practicing and, by extension, probably amenable to Perón’s push to limit their influence.
The miscalculation proved fateful, however. The dispute damaged Teisaire’s influence among the largely conservative Catholic navy commanders, who spitefully referred to the Vice president as “that Freemason,” and soon destroyed military loyalty for the administration itself. A series of violent confrontations from June to September 1955 ended with Perón’s September 19 resignation and exile.
Vice President Teisaire was forced to resign on September 23, following which he was coerced into reading a 7-page confession of the “fugitive dictator’s” alleged abuses electric meat tenderizer for sale. His “confession” was produced into a 12-minute propaganda film by the Revolución Libertadora, which ordered the footage shown on all movie theatres.
Teisaire kept a low profile in retirement. He died of natural causes on September 11, 1962, at age 71.
His coerced 1956 statements remained controversial, perceived as a betrayal by many Peronists even after his death. During the hostilities between that followed between the Peronist left and right, a false narrative was later spread by among others the right-wing Peronist Luis Sobrino Aranda (who served in Congress between 1973 and 1976) that Teisaire had been killed with his secretary and bodyguard by a left-wing Peronist commando team. Teisaire’s secretary, Bernardo Neustadt, went on to host a series of successful how do you tenderise steak, current-events talk shows on Argentine television.