Haya de la Torre, Víctor Raúl (1895–1979)

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Haya de la Torre, Víctor Raúl (1895–1979)

Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre (b. 22 February 1895; d. 2 August 1979), pivotal politician in Peruvian politics of the twentieth century, founder in 1924 of the Popular Revolutionary Alliance of America (APRA), a movement with continental ambitions, and in 1931 the local Peruvian Aprista Party (PAP). Haya developed an ideology that was initially anti-imperialist but gradually turned conciliatory. He was supported mainly by the lower middle classes of Peru, who were attracted by his charisma, his populist-nationalist views, and his syncretic-Indianist appeal.

Haya was born in Trujillo to a family of provincial distinction. However, his father, Raúl Edmundo, had to rely on his professional income as a journalist to support his family. Peter Klarén proposes that Haya's initial ideological positions were possibly minted in reaction to the expansion of land property by foreign companies in La Libertad at the turn of the century. Haya studied law in Trujillo (1915) and Lima (1917). After meeting the intellectual Manuel González Prada in the Peruvian capital, Haya added anarchistic elements to his provincial bohemian stance.

In 1919, Peruvian workers were fighting for the eight-hour workday. Haya's policy of solidarity with the workers allowed him to surface as student leader. He was president of the Student Federation in 1919 and 1920, leading a student congress in Cuzco, fighting for the reform of the university, and establishing the "popular universities" that constituted the bases of the future PAP. Haya was initially a fellow traveler of the rising socialist movement and collaborated in journalistic activities with socialist intellectual José Carlos Mariátegui.

By 1924, Haya had developed a strong opposition to President Augusto B. Leguía and was imprisoned and exiled. Haya was invited by Mexican indi-genist and minister of education José Vasconcelos to Mexico, where he started his continental ideological movement. He broke politically with Mariátegui and became a stern opponent of communism.

After extensive travel and study in Europe he returned to Peru when Leguía fell in 1930. In the 1931 elections, Haya lost to the nationalist colonel Luis Sánchez Cerro. Apristas claimed fraud and organized an uprising in Trujillo in 1932 which was brutally repressed by the army. Haya was imprisoned but then freed after Sánchez Cerro's death in 1933. Thereafter he engaged in clandestine politics, and did not return to open campaigning until 1945, with the election of APRA-supported Luis José Bustamante y Rivero. In 1948, however, another Aprista uprising, this time in Callao, led to repression by General Manuel Odría and Haya's political asylum in the Colombian embassy in Lima (1949–1954).

By 1956 a more subdued Haya established with President Manuel Prado a pact whose objective was an Aprista victory in the 1962 elections. However, once again Haya's presidential ambitions were thwarted by a military coup against Prado. Elections in 1963 resulted in the defeat of Haya by Fernando Belaúnde. During Belaúnde's regime, Haya's party formed a coalition of opposition with his former enemy Odría. The military coup of 1968 against Belaúnde further delayed Haya's ambitions. Only in 1978–1979 was Haya able to occupy the largely honorary post of president of the Constituent Assembly.

See alsoPrado y Ugarteche, Manuel; Peru, Political Parties: Peruvian Apristá Party (PAP/APRA).


Harry Kantor, The Ideology and Program of the Peruvian Aprista Movement (1966).

Víctor Raúl Haya De La Torre, Obras completas, 7 vols. (1976–1977).

Fredrick Pike, The Politics of the Miraculous in Peru: Haya de la Torre and the Spiritualist Tradition (1986).

Steve Stein, Populism in Peru (1980).

Additional Bibliography

Alexander, Robert Jackson, Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, and Julia Elisa Alva Parodi. Haya de la Torre, Man of the Millennium: His Life, Ideas and Continuing Relevance. Lima: Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre Institute, 2001.

Chinguel, Miguel Facundo. El pensamiento hayista. Lima, Perú: Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, 2004.

Graham, Carol. Peru's APRA: Parties, Politics, and the Elusive Quest for Democracy. Boulder: L. Rienner Publishers, 1992.

Reveco del Villar, Juan Manue. Vida y obra de Victor Raul Haya de la Torre. Lima: Cambio y Desarrollo, Instituto de Investigaciones, 1992.

                                   Alfonso W. Quiroz

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Haya de la Torre, Víctor Raúl (1895–1979)

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