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Velasco Alvarado, Juan (1910–1977)

Velasco Alvarado, Juan (1910–1977)

Juan Velasco Alvarado (b. 16 June 1910; d. 24 December 1977), military officer and president of Peru (1968–1975), leader of a radical nationalist government that introduced a number of reforms and increased state intervention in economic, social, and political affairs. Velasco was born in Piura and entered the army as a private in 1929. In 1930 he was accepted to the officers' military school, from which he graduated first in his class. After serving as army officer in the Peruvian jungle, he continued his military training in the Advanced War School. In 1959 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general, and in 1962–1963 he was the military attaché in Paris. In 1963 he was promoted to division general and served in Washington, D.C.

In 1968, Velasco and twelve other army officers plotted to oust President Fernando Belaúnde Terry. They allegedly elaborated the Plan Inca, a blueprint for introducing strategic reforms intended to modernize the country and avoid leftist and social uprisings. Soon after the coup of 3 October 1968, Velasco and his government team initiated a process of nationalization of the petroleum, mining, fishing, and agrarian industries. A vast agrarian reform was implemented, and in 1974 the press was nationalized. With initial popular support, Velasco's popularity had declined considerably by 1975. In 1973 he suffered a stroke that led to the amputation of his left leg. General Francisco Morales Bermúdez Cerruti led a 1975 coup that ousted Velasco and prepared for the return of democracy in 1980. Velasco died in Lima.

See alsoBelaúnde Terry, Fernando; Plan Inca.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Peter Cleaves and Martin Scurrah, Agriculture, Bureaucracy, and Military Government in Peru (1980).

George Philip, The Rise and Fall of the Peruvian Military Radicals, 1968–1976 (1978).

Juan Velasco Alvarado, La revolución peruana (1973).

Additional Bibliography

Franco, Carlos, and Rolando Ames. El Perú de Velasco. Lima: Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo y la Participación, 1986.

Kruijt, Dirk. Revolution by Decree: Peru, 1968–1975. Amsterdam: Thela Publishers, 1994.

Lynch, Nicolás. Política y antipolítica en el Perú. Lima: DESCO, Centro de Estudios y Promoción del Desarrollo, 2000.

                              Alfonso W. Quiroz

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