History, Foundation of APRA
Victor Raul Haya, Manuel Prado, world depression, military coup, APRA
In 1908 a program of economic reform was instituted by President Augusto Leguia y Salcedo. After his first term from 1908 to 1912, Leguia traveled in the United Kingdom and the United States, where he learned methods of banking and finance, which he later applied in Peru, and made many friends in the business community. He regained the presidency in 1919 by means of a military coup and thereafter ruled as virtual dictator. Leguia preserved the country’s old class organization. However, he brought material progress to Peru, broadened education, and improved labor conditions.
In 1924, during Leguia’s rule, some exiled Peruvian intellectuals founded the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA), which Victor Raul Haya de la Torre led for more than 40 years. APRA called for basic reforms—especially in the conditions of the Native Americans. Leguia banned APRA, but the alliance managed nevertheless to become the most influential of Peru’s political parties.
Leguia stayed in power until 1930, when the world depression ended the flow of foreign investments. He was deposed and jailed by an army revolt. On April 9, 1933, a new constitution was adopted. Shortly thereafter Leguia’s successor, Luis Sanchez Cerro, was assassinated. The next chief executive, General Oscar Raimundo Benavides, followed the new pattern of harsh political rule combined with marked economic advances. When the APRA won the election of 1936, Benavides ignored the results and extended his own term in office. In 1939, in controlled elections, he installed Manuel Prado as president. Prado was forced, however, to make concessions to the powerful reform sentiment fostered by APRA.
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