Also known as APRA
, the Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana
, a center-left Peruvian
political party founded in 1924 by exile Victor Raúl Haya de la Torre
. Banned by President Augusto Leguía
and later by military leader Lt. Col. Sánchez Cerro
for its connection with terror attacks, APRA continued fighting against the military while underground
. The party was legalized in 1945 by President Manuel Prado y Ugarteche
, who had won the 1939 elections. A 1948 revolt in Callao
by Apristas led to a coup by General Manuel Odría
, who outlawed APRA upon his ascension. Prado won the 1956 elections with APRA support, and he legalized the party for a second time. In 1962, Haya de la Torre won with a small plurality, leading the anti-Aprista military to resume control. Between 1968 and 1985, Peru was run by a series of military rulers beginning with General Juan Velasco Alvarado
who suspended Peruvian democracy after his succesful coup d'etat
As noted by Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, South American political parties are often closer to warring tribes or factions; the political ideologies they hold are constantly shifting and ultimately meaningless. For one thing, any party with "martyrs" is likely to focus less on politics and more on the pursuit of power. Regardless, APRA claims to support the peasants, the laboring classes, and indigenous peoples, although the party consists mostly of the European upper class. Its policies include agrarian and industrial reform, nationalization or socialization of selected industries, and reducing inequality in Peru.
In 1985, more than 60 years after the foundation of the Partido Aprista and six years after Haya de la Torre's death, APRA candidate Alan García Pérez won the presidential election. García's five-year term was one of the more disastrous in recent history (although one must remember that when speaking about Peruvian politics, "disastrous" is a highly relative term). Foremost among his failures was the rising violence caused by terrorist groups Sendero Luminoso and MRTA, which forced the exodus of tens of thousands from rural areas to the cities, creating the pueblos jóvenes which still scar Lima's skyline. An economic crisis which involved nationalization of Peru's banks and ruinous strategies at economic revival ended García's term with inflation at over 7,500%. Casaulties in the drug war escalated because of increasing international demand for cocaine and Sendero's defense of coca plantations. The poor results of these five years ruined García's presidency and APRA's chances for political success in the near future.
In 1990, APRA's incumbent placed a dismal third after political unknown Alberto Fujimori and novelist Mario Vargas Llosa. APRA boycotted the 1992 elections convened after Fujimori suspended the constitution and dissolved the Congreso Nacional, claiming that the elections were (as was probably true) unfair and unconstitutional.
After the runoff convened because of Fujimori's flight from Peru, García ran in the 2000 elections. APRA lost the presidency to Perú Posible candidate Alejandro Toledo by a slim margin, but gained a substantial number of seats in Congress. Apristas are currently attempting to consolidate their power for García's run in the 2006 elections.