Alan García Pérez
|Assumed office |
28 July 2006
|Prime Minister|| Jorge del Castillo|
|Vice President|| Luis Giampietri|
|Preceded by||Alejandro Toledo|
28 July 1985 – 28 July 1990
|Prime Minister|| Luis Alva|
Luis Alberto Sánchez
|Vice President|| Luis Alberto Sánchez|
|Preceded by||Fernando Belaúnde|
|Succeeded by||Alberto Fujimori|
|Born|| 23 May 1949|
|Spouse|| Carla Buscaglia (div.)|
|Alma mater|| San Marcos University|
Complutense University of Madrid
Alan Gabriel Ludwig García Pérez (born May 23, 1949 in Lima) is the current President of Peru, having won the 2006 elections on June 4, 2006 in a run-off against Union for Peru candidate Ollanta Humala. He is the leader of the APRA and the only party member ever to have served as President of Peru. He served a first term as President from 1985 to 1990. His first term was marked by a severe economic crisis, social unrest and violence. He ran unsuccessfully for the Presidency in 2001, losing in a run-off to Alejandro Toledo.
García was born in Lima into a middle-class family with close ties to the already established APRA party. His father, Carlos García Ronceros, was the secretary of APRA during the government of Manuel A. Odría, which had declared the party illegal. Given his political militancy, his father was later arrested and imprisoned, leaving him alienated from his family and not meeting his son Alan until five years later. His mother was Nytha Pérez Rojas.
García studied at the Colegio Nacional José María Eguren in Barranco, a district of Lima. He went on to university studies at the Pontificia Universidad Católica and later earned his law degree at the National University of San Marcos in 1971. Afterwards, he moved to Europe, attending the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, where he studied and completed his thesis on constitutional law, earning himself a doctorate in political science. In 1973, he went on to the University of Paris, where he obtained a degree in sociology. García lived several years in Paris but, in 1978, Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, the elder leader of the APRA party (who would die one year later), urged him to return to political life in Peru, after the Morales Bermúdez administration presided over the return to civilian government and allowed the reorganization of other political parties.
García is married to Pilar Nores, an Argentine, who has been on his side for over twenty years. García has six children: Karla, a product of his first marriage to Carla Buscaglia, and Josefina, Gabriela, Luciana, Alan Raúl, and Federico, of three years, who is a product of his relationship with Elizabeth Cheesman.
García won the elections on April 14, 1985 with 45% of the votes. Since he did not receive the 50% of the votes required to win the presidency, García had to enter a run-off against Alfonso Barrantes (former leftist mayor of Lima) of the United Left party. Barrantes, however, retired and decided not to enter the run-off, saying he did not want to prolong the political uncertainty of the country. García was thus declared president on June 1 and officially took power on July 28, 1985. For the first time in its sixty-year history, the APRA party had come to power in Peru. Aged only 36, García was dubbed "Latin America's Kennedy," becoming the region's youngest president at the time.
Despite his initial popularity among Peruvian voters, García's term in office was marked by bouts of hyperinflation, which reached 7,649% in 1990 and had a cumulative total of 2,200,200% over the five years, thereby profoundly destabilizing the Peruvian economy. Owing to such chronic inflation, the Peruvian currency, the sol, was replaced by the Inti in mid-1985, which itself was replaced by the nuevo sol ("new sun") in July 1991, at which time the new sol had a cumulative value of one billion (1,000,000,000) old soles. During García's administration, the per capita annual income of Peruvians fell to $720 (below the level of 1960) and Peru's GDP dropped 20%. By the end of his term, national reserves were a negative $900 million.
According to studies of the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics and the United Nations Development Programme, around the start of his presidency, 41.6% of Peruvians lived in poverty. During his presidency, this percentage increased by 13% (to 55%) in 1991. García also made an attempt to nationalize the banking and insurance industries. He incurred the wrath of the International Monetary Fund and the financial community by unilaterally declaring a limit on debt repayment equal to 10% of the Gross National Product, thereby isolating Peru from the international financial markets.
The economic turbulence exacerbated social tensions in Peru and contributed in part to the rise of the violent rebel movement Shining Path, which launched the internal conflict in Peru and began attacking electric towers, causing a number of blackouts in Lima. The García administration unsuccessfully sought a military solution to the growing terrorism, allegedly committing human rights violations which are still under investigation. These include the Accomarca massacre, where 47 campesinos were gunned to death by the Peruvian armed forces in August 1985, the Cayara massacre (May 1988) in which some thirty were killed and dozens disappeared, and the summary execution of more than 200 inmates during prison riots in Lurigancho, San Juan Bautista (El Frontón) and Santa Bárbara in 1986. According to an official inquiry, an estimated 1,600 forced disappearances took place during García's presidency. His own personal involvement in these events is not clear. García was allegedly tied to the paramilitary Rodrigo Franco Command, which is accused of carrying out political murders in Peru during García's presidency. A US declassified report, written in late 1987, said that Garcia's party, APRA, and top government officials were running a paramilitary group, responsible for the attempted bombing of the El Diario newspaper, then linked to Shining Path, sent people to train in North Korea and may have been involved in executions. According to investigative journalist Lucy Komisar, the report made it clear that it believed that García was giving the orders.
In addition, there were unconfirmed but popular rumours that he was suffering from mental disorders, and was a lithium user. There were also rumours of ties to Colombian drug dealers, aside from public charges of high-level corruption and theft at all levels of his government, and the naming of APRA party members to various administrative positions that they were not qualified for.
García's presidency left the country with hyperinflation, isolated from the international financial community, with negative reserves of US$900 million, continuous subversive activities by the Shining Path, great increase in poverty levels and an electric train multi-million investment in Lima that was never finished. His critics claim the many poor decisions he took while in office created an environment that lead to the rise of an authoritarian leader like Alberto Fujimori. Some suspect García and APRA cut a deal with Fujimori during the 1990 election, backing him in return for immunity, so as to prevent Mario Vargas Llosa and his FREDEMO party, then leading in the polls, from coming to power. During the campaign, Vargas Llosa had promised to investigate corruption in the García administration.
In 1992, García went into exile to Colombia and later to France after Fujimori's auto-coup during which the military raided his house. The new government re-opened charges against him for allegedly taking millions of dollars in bribes. He denied the charges, and in 2001 Peru's Supreme Court ruled that the statute of limitations had run out following a recommendation by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. There were charges of corruption involved in this decision, as at the same time a law was struck down by Congress which prevented anyone who had been investigated for charges of corruption in a public office to run for president (what his supporters in Congress dubbed the "anti-Alan law"). García could not justify how he had homes in the richest neighbourhoods of Bogotá and Paris, in addition to having his daughter enrolled in a top private school in France, if his only alleged income was from being an occasional guest speaker and the author of a few books with poor sales. His long-time ally Jorge Del Castillo represented him as his lawyer and performed very heavy lobbying for allowing García to legally return to Peru. After Castillo was elected to Congress, he had much more leverage for García's defence.
After living eight years and ten months in neighbouring Colombia and in France, he returned to Peru in 2001, following Alberto Fujimori's resignation from the presidency. As it had been rumoured for many years, García ran for president in the new elections called by transitory president Valentín Paniagua, with Jorge Del Castillo as his campaign manager. García competed against some of his harshest critics and worst political enemies, including Lourdes Flores Nano and Fernando Olivera. García's theme during this election campaign was that he was the most experienced candidate and thus the most prepared, as he had made mistakes before as President, and had learned from them. He attributed all the problems of the Peruvian economy in his first presidency to the economic problems of Argentina and Brazil at the time. He distanced himself from accusations that he had been protected by Fujimori during his exile, and he would switch the topic when he was asked about his endorsement of Fujimori in the 1990 election.
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He finished a distant second in the first round, far behind Alejandro Toledo, but just slightly above Flores Nano (by 1%), enough to take him to a run-off, as Toledo failed to obtain the 50% majority. During the campaign for the run-off Toledo's popularity decreased, while García's popularity increased with his characteristic rhetoric and classical oratory delivery, that had helped him being elected in 1985. García managed to obtain 48% of the vote in the run-off, losing by a close margin to Toledo. This was despite the movement "Voto Nulo" (vote in blank), led by Jaime Bayly, a popular writer and TV presenter, and Álvaro Vargas Llosa, son of the famous novelist, in which celebrities asked Peruvian voters to vote for neither candidate and instead intentionally damage their vote cards or leave them blank. Since the 2001 election, García, as leader of the APRA party, led the main opposition.
García officially started his campaign for the April 2006 presidential election in Lima on February 18, 2005. Ollanta Humala won the election with 30.62% of valid votes, followed by García, who got 24.32% (against Lourdes Flores' 23.81%). As no candidate won a majority, a run-off was held on June 4, 2006 between Humala and García. Preliminary official results gave García an advantage over his run-off opponent, who conceded defeat.
On April 28, 2006, prior to the run-off, García became involved in a dispute with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez as Chávez, for the second time in the Peruvian Presidential elections, declared his support for Ollanta Humala, García's opponent, and referred to García as a "robber", a "bandit", and "the Carlos Andrés Pérez of Peru". In response, García stated that Chávez was "not acting as a statesman" and challenged Chávez to a debate to be hypothetically hosted by CNN. García also called on the Organization of American States to intervene in the matter.
On May 31, 2006, a few days before the second round election García's economic adviser Enrique Cornejo told the media that if García won in the second round, his government would renew a $422 million aid package with the International Monetary Fund. Anoop Singh, the IMF's Western Hemisphere Director, responded positively by saying he was "impressed by the vision of the president-elected for Peru, especially his commitment to applying prudent economic policy."
On July 28, 2006, García was sworn in as the new president of Peru, after winning approximately 53% of the nationwide vote in the elections held on June 4. He had huge support in Lima and the northern coast, but did not get the votes of Humala's strongholds such as the southern region (mostly impoverished but including major cities as Cuzco and Arequipa) and the rain forest areas. A third of the voters said that voting for him was "voting for the lesser of two evils": although many Peruvians had a very negative impression of García after his first presidency, they were scared by rumours that Humala would create a government based on Fidel Castro's Cuba and would turn Hugo Chávez, President of Venezuela, into the virtual ruler of Peru, due to Chavez's patronage of Humala's party. Humala denied these rumours, but his conflicting statements about his government's vision and Chávez's strong campaigning for him created enough suspicions among voters to cost him the ballotage.
With 36 seats, APRA has the second largest bloc in the 120-seat unicameral Congress which was sworn in a couple of days before the President. With 45 seats, Humala's Union for Peru Party has the largest bloc, although it has divided in up to three factions.
Following his victory García stated that he "seeks good relations with Venezuela" and did not intend to start a movement in the region against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. He stated that he would review a trade agreement with the US established by the Toledo administration before deciding to ratify the agreement. Although APRA's position towards the free trade agreement was qualified as ambiguous by their detractors, APRA had always sustained that they would approve the agreement with proper compensations for wheat, cotton and yellow corn producers. On June 28, one month before García was sworn in, his party gave 25 of the 79 votes (almost one third of the votes) that ratified the agreement in the Peruvian Congress, one month prior to the new legislature that will include the Union for Peru congressmen opposed to the agreement with the USA. The new Congress will still include a majority favourable to the free trade pact. Peru now awaits the agreement to be voted in the United States Congress.
On his first speech as President, García said that he would appoint a Finance Minister who was neither "an orthodox market liberal" nor a person "excessively in favour of state intervention in the economy". The position of Prime Minister was given to Jorge Del Castillo, his long time collaborator. According to the BBC, in private interviews García has stated his interest in a possible future trade agreement with Brazil and considers himself "an admirer" of Brazilian President Lula da Silva.
In press conferences with the foreign press, García has acknowledged that the support Humala had received in the election "could not be ignored". García, in a recognition of future domestic politics with a UPP controlled Congress, was quoted as saying "Mr. Humala is an important political figure, and a President should consult with different political factions". However, Mr. Humala has said he won't salute the winner personally, adding that "he and his party will constitute the principal opposition bloc, not to fight Mr. García, but to defend the interests of the State and watch the government".
President Chávez of Venezuela responded to García's comments on his show Aló Presidente by stating that it was García who owed him an apology saying "the only way relations between the two countries can be restored is if Peru's elected President [García] gives an explanation and offers an apology to the Venezuelan people. He started throwing stones". Chávez also questioned the legitimacy of the election, citing 1.2 million invalid ballots and a margin of victory of 600,000 votes, although he didn't offer evidence for his remarks. García, attending an invitation to meet Brazilian president Lula da Silva, responded to Chávez: "accept your defeat in silence. Don't ask me to apologize for something arising from interference and remarks that are unacceptable under international law."
On July 20, 2006 García named as Finance Minister Luis Carranza, a former executive at Spain-based Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and Central Bank director and deputy finance chief from August 2004 to August 2005 in Alejandro Toledo's government. The appointment was welcomed by some detractors of García's fiscal policies during his first administration. But Mario Huamán Rivera, the President of Peru's largest trade union the Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú (General Workers Confederation of Peru), has attacked the appointment stating that "it looks as though Alan García is not going to fulfil his promise to change economic policy".
On the day before his inauguration, García formally named his cabinet including former Secretary-General of the APRA party and re-elected Congressman Jorge del Castillo as Prime Minister, Luis Carranza as Minister of Finance and Economy, and José Antonio García Belaúnde as Foreign Affairs Minister. García was inaugurated as President of Peru on July 28, 2006.
During his campaign, García declared that he supports death penalty for rapists of minors; he has repeated this stance while in office. He has even proposed a polemic law on the matter, which would modify the Criminal Code. Although the issue seemed to be stalled, García widened the range of his proposal for death penalty, by including terrorists onto the list of those who could receive it.
On October 23, 2006, García publicly admitted that he had had a child outside of marriage, although he had fully recognized him as his own. With his wife standing by his side, García told the media the name of the one year and ten-month old child: Federico Danton García Cheesman. García said that the child resulted from an affair he conducted between 2004-2005 when he was separated from his wife. César Hildebrandt, the Peruvian journalist who revealed García's 6th child, was fired from the newspaper La Primera three days after García's public declaration. It is a matter of debate if his sacking had to do with the revelation.
García faced his first major political defeat of his second term in office on January 11, 2007 when his proposal to introduce the death penalty as a punishment for captured Shining Path rebels was rejected by Congress in a vote of 49 to 26. García had promised to introduce the death penalty for Shining Path rebels during the 2006 Presidential election. Following the defeat of the proposal, García suggested a national referendum on the issue but a referendum is expected to be blocked by Congress. Legislators who voted against the bill stated that it would be a breach of the American Convention on Human Rights to which Peru is a signatory. Approximately 3000 supporters of the proposal marched in Lima holding up photos of victims of attacks by the Shining Path.
After being elected, but before his inauguration, García sought to heal the relationship with Chile, which had been disturbed after some differences between the governments of Alejandro Toledo and Ricardo Lagos and severely impaired by the former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's extradition affair. García's intentions were well-received by Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, as she and García met and struck some pre-agreements. These conversations eventually led to the final draft of a landmark economic agreement with Chile a month after García was sworn in.
On November 9, 2006, García signed 12 commercial agreements with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, strengthening the relationship between the two countries. As part of the IIRSA program and continuing integration efforts -including the August 2006 negotiations between Petrobras and PETROPERU-, these new agreements seek to further bilateral cooperation. García offered Peruvian hydropower to meet Brazil's growing energy needs, although further details were not disclosed.
García mended relations with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela on December 9, 2006 during the second South American Community of Nations summit in Cochabamba, Bolivia. García told the Peruvian broadcaster Radio Programas del Perú that "the two of us are well-mannered and cordial people, so any kind of argument, any previously made statements, remain a closed chapter" referring to disputes between the two leaders during the 2006 Peruvian presidential election where Chavez supported García's opponent Ollanta Humala.
Council of Ministers
|Ministry||Name||Party||Term||President of the Council of Ministers||Yehude Simon Munaro||Peruvian Humanist Movement Party||October 2008 to date||Foreign Relations||José Antonio García Belaúnde||Independent||July 2006 to date||Defense||Antero Flores||Independent||December 2007 to date||Agricultural||Carlos Leyton Muñoz||Independent||October 2008 to date||Work and Employment||Jorge Villasante Araníbar||Independent||October 2008 to date||Woman and Social Development||Carmen Vildoso Chirinos||Independent||October 2008 to date||Economy and Finance||Luis Carranza Ugarte||Independent||January 2008 to date||Transportation and Communications||Verónica Zavala Lombardi||Independent||July 2006 to date||Housing, Construction and Sanitation||Enrique Cornejo||APRA||December 2007 to date||Foreign Commerce and Tourism||Mercedes Aráoz Fernández||Independent||July 2006 to date||Production||Elena Conterno Martinelli||PRN||October 2008 to date||Health||Oscar Ugarte Ubillús||Humanist||October 2008 to date||Energy and Mining||Pedro Sánchez Gamarra||APRA||October 2008 to date||Education||José Antonio Chang||Independent||July 2006 to date||Interior||Mercedes Cabanillas||APRA||February 2009 to date||Justice||Rosario Fernández||Independent||December 2007 to date||Ambient||Antonio Brack Egg||Independent||July 2008 to date|
Alan García is the author of several books on the Peruvian reality and Latin America. Most of them may be found in the National Library of Peru. His published works include the following:
- 1988 A la inmensa mayoría: discursos
- 1989 El futuro diferente
- 1989 El desarme financiero: pueblo y deuda en América Latina
- 1990 La revolución regional
- 1991 La defensa de Alan García
- 1992 El nuevo totalitarismo
- 1994 El mundo de Machiavello
- 1997 La falsa modernidad
- 1997 Siete tesis erróneas del neoliberalismo en América Latina
- 1999 Mi Gobierno hizo la regionalización
- 2000 La década infame: deuda externa 1990–1999
- 2003 Modernidad y política en el siglo XXI: globalización con justicia social
- 2005 Sierra Exportadora - Empleo, Modernidad y Justicia en Los Andes
- ↑ Garcia wins to become Peru president, al-Jazeera, June 5, 2006
- ↑ Perú, Atlas Internet (Spanish)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Lucy Komisar, Peru: US Gov’t Document Links García to 1980s Death Squads, Inter Press Service, December 5, 2007.
- ↑ "Peru court lifts Garcia corruption charge" January 19, 2001 BBC
- ↑ Alan García reta a Chávez a polemizar por CNN, El Universal, 28 April 2006 (Spanish)
- ↑ Alan García in Dispute with Hugo Chávez, University of British Columbia — Peru Elections 2006, April 28, 2006
- ↑ "Peru's García Pledges to Renew IMF Loan Agreement (Update2)", Bloomberg, May 31, 2006
- ↑ "IMF says "impressed" with Peru's Garcia's vision", June 14, 2006 (Reuters).
- ↑ Exit Poll Results: Alan Garcia in First Place University of British Columbia — Peru Elections 2006, June 4, 2006.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 "García desestima roces con Chávez" June 6, 2006 BBC Mundo.
- ↑ Humala says he won't give García truce, El Comercio, June 8, 2006.
- ↑ "Peru President-Elect Garcia Owes Venezuela Apology, Chavez Says", June 11, 2006 Bloomberg
- ↑ "Peru's Garcia refuses to apologize to Chavez", June 13, 2006 Reuters
- ↑ "Peru's Garcia cozies up to Ecuador, Venezuela", December 9, 2006 International Herald Tribune
- ↑ "Garcia and Hugo Chavez set differences aside", December 9, 2006 Living in Peru
- ↑ "Garcia Names Carranza Peru's Next Finance Minister" July 20, 2006 Bloomberg
- ↑ Hal Weitzman, "Garcia's choice of finance minister cheered" July 22, 2006 Financial Times
- ↑ "Alan Garcia Announces Peruvian Staff" July 28, 2006 Prensa Latina
- ↑ Tyler Bridges, "Alan Garcia inaugurated as president of Peru" July 28, 2006 The Miami Herald
- ↑ "Alan García envía al Congreso propuesta para pena de muerte" September 21, 2006 Los Tiempos
- ↑ Cecilia Rosales Ferreyros, "García plantea volver a aplicar pena de muerte" August 9, 2006 El Comercio
- ↑ "Peru's President in favor of death penalty for terrorists" November 2, 2006 Living In Peru
- ↑ "Alan García: guerra avisada, señores, no mata gente" November 2, 2006 El Comercio
- ↑ Peru.com, "Tengo un Niño Lindo"
- ↑ "Presidente García insiste en aplicar la pena de muerte" January 19, 2007 El Comercio
- ↑ "Will Chile send Fujimori to Peru?" January 5, 2006 The Economist
- ↑ "Alan García se reunió con Bachelet" June 23, 2006 (BBC).
- ↑ Noriega, Carlos "Del odio al amor hay sólo un paso" June 24, 2006 Página 12
- ↑ "Chile y Perú firman primer TLC entre países sudamericanos" August 22, 2006 Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile
- ↑ "Perú y Chile suscriben un 'histórico' acuerdo comercial" August 24, 2006 La Última
- ↑ "Garcia: Peru and Brazil trust in the power of its people" November 9, 2006 Living in Peru
- ↑ "Brazil, Peru sign 12 cooperation agreements" November 10, 2006 People's Daily
- ↑ "Peru - Agreement with state companies from Peru" Petrobras - Investor News
- ↑ Andrade, Juliana "Após encontro, Lula e García firman acordos de cooperação bilateral" November 9, 2006 Agência Brasil
- ↑ Clendenning, Alan"Peru president offers energy to Brazil" November 10, 2006 Business Week
- ↑ "Peru's Garcia cozies up to Ecuador, Venezuela" December 9, 2006 International Herald Tribune
- Office of the President of the Republic of Peru Official Site
- (Spanish) APRA's official site
- Latin Business Chronicle Leader of the Year 2008: Alan Garcia
- (Spanish) Extended biography by CIDOB Foundation
- Peru Election 2006: Alan García The University of British Columbia
- "Exiled Garcia back in Peru", BBC News Online, 28 January 2001
- cverdad.org (A brief report made by the Peruvian Commission of Truth involving Alan García)
- Extract from article discussing Garcia's 2006 election victory 23 June 2006
- Welcome to Washington, Mr. Peruvian President: Alan García Perez’s Regional Foreign Policy Analysis by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, 5 October 2006.
|President of Peru|
1985 – 1990
| Succeeded by|
|Senator of the Republic|
1990 – 1992
| Succeeded by|
|President of Peru|
2006 – present
|Party political offices|
Jorge del Castillo
|General Secretary of the APRA|
2001 – present
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