APRA Rebellion in Peru 1932

[ 1932 ]

Haya de la Torre returned to Peru from a long exile to organize the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana--APRA), an anti-imperialist, continent-wide, revolutionary alliance, founded in Mexico in 1924. For Haya de la Torre, capitalism was still in its infancy in Peru and the proletariat too small and undeveloped to bring about a revolution against the Civilista oligarchy. For that to happen, he argued, the working classes must be joined to radicalized sectors of the new middle classes in a cross-class, revolutionary alliance akin to populism. Both parties--one from a Marxist and the other from a populist perspective--sought to organize and lead the new middle and working classes, now further dislocated and radicalized by the Great Depression. With his oratorical brilliance, personal magnetism, and national-populist message, Haya de la Torre was able to capture the bulk of these classes and to become a major figure in Peruvian politics until his death in 1980 at the age of eighty-six...

In the presidential election of 1931, Sánchez Cerro (1931- 33), capitalizing on his popularity from having deposed the dictator Leguía, barely defeated APRA's Haya de la Torre, who claimed to have been defrauded out of his first bid for office. In July 1932, APRA rose in a bloody popular rebellion in Trujillo, Haya de la Torre's hometown and an APRA stronghold, that resulted in the execution of some sixty army officers by the insurgents. Enraged, the army unleashed a brutal suppression that cost the lives of at least 1,000 Apristas (APRA members) and their sympathizers (partly from aerial bombing, used for the first time in South American history). Thus began what would become a virtual vendetta between the armed forces and APRA that would last for at least a generation and on several occasions prevented the party from coming to power.

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