Peru Recent History

On December 8, 1939, the conservative Manuel Prado Ugarteche took office, who maintained the internal order with softer methods, continued public works and gave a significant impulse to colonization. In January 1942 he completed the ten-year border conflict with Ecuador and broke diplomatic relations with the Axis, entering the western defensive system directed by the United States. Intercontinental flights of the “Lufthansa” suspended; in the port of Callao, the German steamers, rather than surrender, sank themselves; many Japanese and Germans, suspected of espionage, were deported while the Italians were not disturbed.

According to Abbreviationfinder, the United States, for its part, helped the country in every way; they granted loans for the purchase of raw materials, they supplied weapons, technicians and tools. And so despite the slowdown in trade and food production, Peru experienced a period of prosperity, so it was possible to partially repair the huge damage caused in 1940 by the earthquake that destroyed entire districts of Lima and Callao.

In the international arena, the president’s activity was full: on February 12, 1945 he declared war on Germany and Japan; two days later he signed the United Nations declaration; on July 17 the border with Ecuador was definitively established.

In May 1946 agreements were made with Bolivia for the education of the natives; established new airlines with the United States; on August 1, 1948, Peru was released from the obligation of economic payments in sterling with the United Kingdom, abandoning the “America Account Area”, and finally diplomatic relations with Spain were restored.
The elections of 1948 brought General Manuel Odria to the presidency, who established an eight-year dictatorship.

Following serious revolutionary episodes in Callao in October, the Apra “Alianza Popular Rivolucionaria Americana” which had provoked them was dissolved. So the head of the aprist party, Raul Haya de la Torre, on January 3, 1949, was forced to take refuge in the Embassy of Colombia in Lima. And there it remained, until 1954, when disputes between the two states over the right to asylum were resolved.

In February 1956, on the eve of the new elections, which also included women, a military revolution broke out immediately.
The elections brought Manuel Prado Ugarteche, who had benefited from the vote of the aprists, who in the meantime had been reintegrated into legality, to the presidency.

He aimed to facilitate the general development of the country but the indigent situation of the people gave rise to unrest and strikes whose proponents were certainly the communists who, of course, were arrested.

Peru Recent History

On July 20, 1959, Pedro G. Beltran was elected Prime Minister. The recovery of state finances began immediately with an austerity system; it stimulated the oil and fishing industry, so much so that Peru took it from 25th to 5th place in the world. In November of the same year he promulgated a special law for industrial development and in 1960 he founded the Institute for Agrarian Reform which was responsible for increasing agricultural production, especially in the south of the country.

This economic policy made Beltran somewhat unpopular among the citizens who, as usual, suffered the hardest sacrifices; but the results obtained brought him a great deal of esteem and prestige from both other states, particularly the United States, and so much confidence from President Prado, for the resolution of the country’s serious problems.

Peru always maintained excellent relations with all the countries of the continent; in February 1960 he signed the Montevideo Treaty for the creation of a Latin American free trade zone.
In order to strengthen Peru’s ties with Europe, President Prado made a journey in the early 1960s: he visited France, Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. On July 13, Peru asked for all the Foreign Ministers of the American countries to meet because they were worried about the strengthened friendship between the USSR and Castro, and broke relations with Cuba.
On April 7, 1961, Peru received the visit of Giovanni Gronchi, President of the Republic. Italian.

From 1959 to 1962 who actually governed Peru was undoubtedly Prime Minister Beltran, also Minister of Finance. The elections of 1962 gave victory to Haya de la Torre, former head of the APRA, but this did not have the approval of the military who seized power and arrested Odria, whose mandate had not yet expired. A military junta, headed by General R. Perez Godoy, assumed power, dissolved Congress, abolished all constitutional guarantees and used the strong system with opponents. The junta itself, not satisfied with these systems, overthrew it and replaced it with another general N. Lindley Lopez, then, keeping the promise made to the people, called in June 1963 new elections that saw in power F. Belaunde Terry head of the “Accion Popular ”supported by both Christian Democrats and the left.

The main initiatives of this government were: the fight against illiteracy, the construction of houses for the poor, the economic and social development of the interior of the country, in which students actively participated, and finally the law on agrarian reform which, in preparation for some time, it had never been launched. In this regard, the Church wanted to contribute and Monsignor C. Jurgens, Bishop of Cuzco, offered thirteen thousand hectares of land to be distributed to the poor.

Despite all his efforts, however, Belaunde was opposed by everyone: on the one hand the landowners did not look at the planned expropriations at all; on the other the nationalists who asked for the nationalization of the International Petroleum Company, associated with Standard Oil. Of course, relations with the United States were in crisis with this. These reports were later strained as the Peruvian government purchased French rather than North American military jet planes.

With this precarious situation, on 3 October 1968 there was a coup d’etat which ousted Belaunde a year before the expiry of his mandate.

A junta headed by General J. Velasco Alvarado took over and dissolved Parliament, nationalized Standard Oil and decreed a new agrarian reform.

In February 1969 relations with the USSR re-established while those with the United States deteriorated even more because, after declaring the limit of 200 miles of territorial waters, some North American fishing vessels, believed to be contravening the new rules, had been seized.
When the United States suspended its war supplies to Peru, Peru dismissed the U.S. Military Missions and eventually denied the entry visa to Nelson Rockefeller (May 23, 1969), Nixon’s diplomatic envoy.
General Alvarado however wanted to reassure all states that his was not Marxist politics, but only aimed at improving the socio-economic situation of his country.

In May 1970, Peru was hit by a frightful earthquake which, however, did not block the harsh reform of the military and in July of the same year the “General Law on Industries” was proclaimed which provided for workers’ participation in the management of businesses. The opposition was not tolerated, so much so that the ex-president Belaunde, for criticizing the regime, was expelled from the country in 1971 and also in this year the “Sinamos”, “National System for Social Mobilization” was created.

In October 1973 a program for the redistribution of wealth was developed and in the first days of 1974 the American “Cerro de Pasco Corporation” was nationalized, which was the most important mining and iron and steel company in Peru. This, however, did not worsen relations with the United States.

But the economic situation worsened due to a global crisis; agitations arose. On July 10, 1974 the government banned the “Partido de Accion Popular”, expropriated some Lima newspapers and assigned them to workers.

In February 1975 there were violent unrest; the national guard went on strike and a state of emergency was declared throughout the country. The Apra was accused of causing the unrest.

The calm returned, from 25 to 30 August 1975 all the Foreign Ministers of the “non-aligned” countries of Algeciras met in a conference chaired by General Alvarado. But on 29 August a coup d’état deposed him and replaced him with General F. Morales Bermudez, former Minister of Defense, who completed the conference reiterating the ideals of the 1968 revolution; however he rethought the military government with the inclusion, for the first time since 1968, of a civilian.

In the following two years 1976/1977 there were many political upheavals; it was again necessary to proclaim the state of emergency and in the 1978 elections the APRA supplanted the Christian People’s Party, reaching the majority of the votes.

In 1979 the Assembly drew up a new Constitution whereby the President elected with the required majority lasted for 5 years and could not be immediately re-elected. In the event that the majority had not been obtained, the ballot between the two candidates with the highest number of votes had to be done. Legislative power was vested in the Congress formed by the two chambers: the Senate with 60 members and the Chamber with 180; also in office for five years.
On May 18, 1980, elections were held in which F. Belaunde Terry prevailed. From that year on, the stability of the state was constantly threatened by “Sendero Luminoso”, a Maoist revolutionary formation led by a former philosophy professor: M. Abimael Guzman. A sort of urban bloody guerrilla warfare soon joined in Sendero Luminoso.

In January 1981 the usual border conflict with Ecuador degenerated into a real war that continued, alternately, even in 1982 and 1983.

The worsening of this situation caused the fall of the economy; this fall and the continuous violation of human rights by the government in its fight against terrorism meant that the guerrillas extended, as well as to the countryside, to the same capital where, from September 1984 onwards, bomb attacks promoted by the ” Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA).
In the general elections of 1985 the general secretary of APRA, A. Garcia Perez, affirmed himself and APRA became the dominant party in both branches of Congress.

The municipal elections of 1989 were sabotaged by Sendero Luminoso who prevented the candidates from presenting themselves, under penalty of death.
The general elections of 1990 highlighted, above all, the decline of the left. And in the presidential election, A. Fujimori, a dark agronomist of Japanese origin, who obtained the consent in particular of the Indian and mestizo population, with the support of the Apra.
He immediately launched drastic measures, increasing gasoline, increasing the prices of food and public transport; then the privatization of state-owned companies began.

In June 1991 he asked Congress, and obtained them, for more powers to then supply them to the army in the fight against subversives; he privatized schools, eliminated the state monopoly on telecommunications, postal services and rail transport and finally dismantled the social security system.
On April 5, 1992, with the support of the military, Fujimori dissolved Congress, suspended the Constitution in order to defeat corruption, terrorism and drug trafficking; announced the restructuring of the judicial system and the drafting of a new constitution by a Democratic Constituent Congress. This presidential “coup” was badly received in international circles; but Fujimori’s position was strengthened when in June of the same year he captured the leaders of the MRTA and in September those of Sendero Luminoso and in the elections of November 22 he had 38% of the votes.
On October 31, 1993, the Peruvian people approved by a large majority the new Constitution which strengthened the powers of the President, who could personally elect ambassadors and send promotions to the military; and moreover he could also obtain a consecutive re-election.
The National Congress was replaced by a single-chamber Legislative Assembly and the death penalty was instituted for terrorist offenses.

In March 1994 some bomb attacks in Lima caused the cancellation of the ongoing negotiations between the President and the heads of the terrorist organizations, in view of the granting of an amnesty in exchange for the definitive cessation of the guerrilla war.

Building on the successes achieved by his administration, Fujimori won the general elections of April 1995, so he remained President with a large majority of votes on rival candidate Javier Perez de Cuellar, former United Nations secretary.

And since he had also won the majority in the National Assembly, his power was greatly increased and he, gradually promulgating new laws and decrees, expanded his powers to the detriment of those of Parliament, while the Judiciary passed to the orders of the executive.

In August 1996, Fujimori managed to pass a law that enabled the President to propose himself again for the third consecutive time. And when during the year 1997 some members of the Constitutional Court tried to counter it by declaring this decree illegal, Fujimori had them arrested and made substantial changes to the same Court.

Having thus greatly reduced the power of the opposition, he also obtained that the approval of the National Assembly was necessary to grant the popular popular referendums. Based on this, the request for a referendum for the annulment of that law was rejected in August 1998.

For the economy, Fujimori continued its program with the help of the International Monetary Fund. But the rise in unemployment, poverty and terrorism of Tupac Amaru, who invaded the Japanese embassy in 600 hostages in December 1996, undermined the President’s power.

The terrorists, in reality, had completed this operation with the intent to bring out clearly, for the whole world, the situation of maximum poverty in which the Peruvian people were facing, so much so that the Church and the Red Cross, as well as numerous other countries.

In the meantime, however, the guerrillas, despite having freed most of the hostages, remained inside the embassy. And there Fujimori directed a very strong attack by the national force which in a short time killed all the guerrillas, including a hostage.
In May 1998 Fujimori managed to extend the power of military courts to the detriment of civil courts with a significant reduction in respect for human rights.

All this, however, was not supported by the perfect functioning of all the institutional offices, for which many government reshuffles were made, with consequent weakening of the same.

In October 1998, a peaceful solution to the border problems with Ecuador, of fifty years of memory, was finally achieved, also through the mediation of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and the United States.

But Fujimori’s dictatorial economic policy provoked, in April 1999, a colossal general strike, the adhesion of which by all walks of life had the result of finding renewed political bases for the opposition to face, with possible satisfactions, the future general elections, scheduled for April of the year 2000.