Benavides, Oscar Raimundo (1876–1945)

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Benavides, Oscar Raimundo (1876–1945)

Oscar Raimundo Benavides (b. 1876; d. 1945), Peruvian general and twice de facto president of Peru (1914–1915, 1933–1939). Born in Lima, he was one of the first professional officers to graduate from the Peruvian Military School in the 1890s. He completed studies in science at the San Marcos University in 1905 and his military training in France in 1907. In 1911 he became nationally known for his swift mobilization of an army he led to Iquitos during the military actions arising from a dispute between Peru and Colombia over a jungle area.

As chief of staff of the Peruvian army in 1913, he did not endorse President Guillermo Billing-hurst's bid to enhance his executive power. Consequently, Benavides was temporarily ousted from the army. Soon, however, he led the first institutional military coup in Peruvian history against Bill-inghurst in 1914. In 1915 constitutional order was restored. Benavides continued his military service into the 1920s, when his opposition to President Augusto B. Leguía resulted in his exile to Guayaquil, where he continued to conspire. When Colonel Luis M. Sánchez Cerro overthrew Leguía in 1930, he appointed Benavides ambassador to Spain and Great Britain and then called him back to Peru during the brief war with Colombia in 1932.

After Sánchez Cerro was assassinated in 1933, the Peruvian Congress designated Benavides president of the republic. During his administration he proscribed the APRA movement and in 1936 held elections which were nullified because of the electoral victory of the candidate supported by the APRA. He established the social security system and carried out a program of public works in the midst of a slow economic recovery after 1933. In 1939, Benavides handed over power to his relative, civilian Manuel Prado.

See alsoPeru, Political Parties: Peruvian Aprista Party (PAP/APRA)xml .


David Werlich, Peru: A Short History (1978), pp. 201-337.

Alfonso W. Quiroz, "Financial Development in Peru Under Agrarian Export Influence, 1884–1950," in The Americas 47 (1991): 447-476.

                                   Alfonso W. Quiroz