Peru: The Evolution of a Crisis

Peru: The Evolution of a Crisis

Peru: The Evolution of a Crisis

Peru: The Evolution of a Crisis


This book gives specialists and students alike a comprehensive political history of Peru that includes the first full-length treatment of the 1980s, a decade in which early optimism sparked by the return of democratic rule gave way to widespread pessimism amidst a full-blown social, economic, and political crisis. The study traces the growth of the Sendero Luminoso insurgency; the economic collapse that brought Peru hyperinflation coupled with its deepest depression of the 20th century; and the evolution of the electoral political system that brought Alberto Fujimori, a political novice, to the presidency in 1990.


Crisis: A situation whose outcome decides whether possible bad consequences will follow.

Webster New World Dictionary

Peru in 1990 was, by almost any standard, a country in the midst of a crisis. Economically, a decade and a half of persistent recession had recently worsened into Peru's deepest depression of the twentieth century, with gross domestic production (GDP) declining 14 percent in 1989 alone; at the same time, hyperinflation, measured at nearly 3,000 percent in 1989, so ravished Peru's currency, the inti, that it was scheduled to be replaced in 1991, only five years after it had been created. The social crisis was most evident in a growth of poverty to levels that could appropriately be termed obscene: by 1990, it was estimated that a third or more of Peru's population was unable to supply its basic nutritional needs. The immense power of the apparently limitless profits from narcotics trafficking to corrupt an ever broader segment of the population--a power that only grew with the deepening of the economic crisis--led many Peruvians to talk about a society-wide moral crisis as well.

Peru's political crisis, like the economic and social, was multifaceted. A rapidly growing insurgency--spearheaded by Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path--was the most visible aspect of a crisis so pervasive that it increasingly questioned the very legitimacy of Peru's political and governmental structures. State institutions had deteriorated to the point that they were routinely unable to provide electrical, water, sanitary, educational, health, police, and judicial services. The condition of the political parties in late 1990 was little better. The right was devastated by the failure of what had been the promising presidential campaign of Mario Vargas Llosa, while APRA (Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana) . . .

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