APRA

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

APRA

APRA (ä´prä) or the Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana, reformist political party in Peru, also called the Partido Aprista. Founded (1924) by Victor Raúl Haya de la Torre while in exile, the party's activities in Perú were led by José Carlos Mariátegui until 1927, when he left to found the Socialist party. Haya de la Torre returned to Peru in 1931 and continued his work with the Apristas. The party advocated social reform, the emancipation of indigenous peoples, improvement of agrarian conditions, and the socialization of some industries. Originally committed to revolutionary change, the party gradually became less radical. Implicated in acts of political terror, the Apristas were outlawed from 1931 to 1945. While underground, the Apristas engaged in continual gun battles with the military, thus creating an enduring enmity between the two groups. In 1945 the party was legalized, and joined in a coalition government under José Luis Bustamente. In 1948, an abortive revolt of dissident Apristas in the port city of Callao brought the country to the verge of civil war, sparking a coup by General Manuel Odría; APRA was again outlawed. The party was legalized (1956) when Manuel Prado, a conservative, was elected president with its support. In the 1962 presidential election, Haya de la Torre won a slight plurality. The military, ever distrustful of the party, immediately intervened to prevent Haya from taking office. They withdrew the following year and APRA again resumed activities. In 1968, a group of left wing officers, led by Gen. Juan Velasco Alvarado, seized power and outlawed all political parties, including the Apristas. Haya de la Torre died in 1979, one year before democracy was restored. APRA finally gained power in 1985 following the electoral victory of Aprista leader Alan García. García's government, though beginning with great promise, became mired in scandal, economic crisis, and its failure to confront the growing political violence caused by guerrillas and drug traffickers. The Aprista candidate lost the 1990 elections to a political unknown, Alberto Fujimori. Following Fujimori's suspension of the constitution and the dissolution of congress, the party boycotted the 1992 elections for a new constituent assembly. The party did participate in the 1995 elections but won only a few seats in the congress. Former president García was again the party's presidential candidate in 2001, when he lost, and 2006, when he won.

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