30 April 1932|
Alhaurín el Grande, Spain
|Years of service||1951–1981|
Antonio Tejero Molina (born 30 April 1932) is a Spanish former Lieutenant Colonel of the Guardia Civil, and the most prominent figure in the failed coup d'état against Spanish democracy on 23 February 1981.
Tejero entered the Guardia Civil in 1951, with the rank of Lieutenant and was sent to Catalonia. In 1958 he was promoted to Captain, and was posted to Galicia, Velez-Malaga and the Canary Islands. In 1963, he was promoted to Major, and served in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Badajoz. In 1974, he became a Lieutenant Colonel, serving as the leader of the Comandancia in the Basque province of Guipúzcoa, but had to ask to be transferred to another region when his public declarations against the Basque flag, the Ikurriña, became known. For his accomplishments in the Basque country, and in combating the ETA, he was named Chief of the Planning Staff of the Civil Guard in Madrid. But along the way, he had also begun to accumulate a record of incidents of dissent.
In 1978, Tejero, Police Captain Ricardo Sánez de Ynestrillas and an Army General Staff colonel, whose name has not been made public, attempted a coup d'état, known as Operation Galaxia. He was condemned to prison for mutiny after the collapse of the attempted coup. Tejero was in prison seven months and seven days.
Attempted 1981 coup
On 23 February 1981, he entered the Congress of Representatives, the lower house of the Spanish Parliament, with 150 Guardia Civil and soldiers and held the congressmen hostage for some 22 hours. King Juan Carlos gave a nationally televised address denouncing the coup and urging the maintenance of law and the continuance of the democratically elected government. The following day the coup leaders surrendered to the police.
Life after jail sentence
In 1982 he created the Spanish Solidarity party. Tejero was the last of the coup leaders to be released from jail on 2 December 1996, having then served 15 years in the military prison at Alcalá de Henares. He lives in Torre del Mar in the Province of Málaga. In 2006, he wrote to the newspaper Melilla Hoy, calling for a referendum on the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) proposals for giving a new measure of autonomy to Catalonia. Following the death of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 2006 Tejero attended a Pinochet homage in Madrid. In 2009, Tejero's son, Ramón Tejero Díez, wrote to the conservative newspaper ABC describing his father as a sincere religious man who was trying to do his best for Spain.
- Staff (23 February 1981). "1981: Rebel army seizes control in Spain". BBC News, archived at BBC On This Day. BBC. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- Staff (25 February 1981). "Detenidos el teniente coronel Tejero y los jefes y oficiales que secundaron el golpe militar". ELPAÍS.com (in Spanish). Madrid: Edicíones El País. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- Staff (24 February 1981). "El teniente coronel Tejero, una biografía repleta de incidentes". ELPAÍS.com (in Spanish). Madrid: Edicíones El País. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- Staff (23 February 2006). "Tejero, 25 años después". Elmundo.es (in Spanish). Madrid: Mundinteractivos, S.A. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
- "Viudos de Franco" homenajearon a Pinochet en España Archived 2015-02-05 at the Wayback Machine.
- Staff (June 2010). "Antonio Tejero: "Hijo, por Dios y por Ella hago lo que tengo que hacer..."". 20minutos.es (in Spanish). Madrid: Multiprensa y Mas, S.L. C.I.F. Retrieved 14 August 2010.