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Fernando Belaúnde Terry

Fernando Belaúnde Terry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fernando Belaúnde
85th and 88th President of Peru
In office
July 28, 1963 – October 3, 1968
Preceded byNicolás Lindley
Succeeded byJuan Velasco
In office
July 28, 1980 – July 28, 1985
Preceded byFrancisco Morales Bermúdez
Succeeded byAlan García
Personal details
BornOctober 7, 1912
Lima, Peru
DiedJune 4, 2002 (aged 89)
Lima, Peru
Political partyAcción Popular
Alma materUniversity of Miami
University of Texas at Austin
ReligionRoman Catholic

Fernando Belaúnde Terry (October 7, 1912 – June 4, 2002) was President of Peru for two non-consecutive terms (1963–1968 and 1980–1985). Deposed by a military coup in 1968, he was re-elected in 1980 after eleven years of military rule. During both terms, economic turbulence and the increase of terrorist activities in the country led to human rights violations by both insurgents and the Peruvian armed forces. Nevertheless, he was recognized for his personal integrity and his commitment to the democratic process.

Second presidency (1980-1985)

One of his first actions as President was the return of several newspapers to their respective owners. In this way, freedom of speech once again played an important part in Peruvian politics. Gradually, he attempted to undo some of the most radical effects of the Agrarian Reform initiated by Velasco, and reversed the independent stance that the Military Government of Velasco had with the United States.

At the outbreak of the 1982 Falklands War between Argentina and Britain, Belaúnde declared that "Peru was ready to support Argentina with all the resources it needed." This included a number of fighter planes from the Peruvian Air Force, ships, and medical teams. Belaunde's government proposed a peace settlement between the two countries, but the Argentine military junta rejected it[2][3] and the British launched an attack on the Argentinian forces deployed around the islands. In response to Chile's support of Britain, Belaúnde called for Latin American unity.

In domestic policy, he continued with many of the projects that were planned during his first term, including the completion of what is considerated his most important legacy, the Carretera Marginal de la Selva, a much-needed roadway linking Chiclayo on the Pacific coast with then isolated northern regions of Amazonas and San Martín.

After a promising beginning, Belaúnde's popularity eroded under the stress of inflation, economic hardship, and terrorism: per capita income declined, Peru's foreign debt burgeoned, and violence by leftist insurgents (notably Shining Path) rose steadily during the internal conflict in Peru, which was launched the day before Belaúnde was elected in 1980.

Regarding Shining Path, Belaúnde personally did not pay too much attention to this: insurgent movements were already active during his first term, but without much support. In addition, some government officials and insurgents were subsequently accused of human rights violations, and a state of emergency was promulgated in the Ayacucho and Apurímac regions.

During the next years, the economic problems left over from the Military Government persisted, worsened by an occurrence of the "El Niño" weather phenomenon in 1982–83, which caused widespread flooding in some parts of the country, severe droughts in others, and sharply reduced the schools of ocean fish that are one of the country's major resources.

[edit]Later years

During the national elections of 1985, Belaúnde's Party, Acción Popular, was defeated by APRA candidate Alan García. However, as established in the 1979 Constitution, he would go on to serve in the Peruvian Senate as Senador Vitalicio ("senator for life"), a privilege for former Presidents abolished by the 1993 Constitution.

Belaúnde died in Lima in 2002 at age 89 with the most spectacular funeral ever held for a former President in the country's history. Thousands of admirers flooded the streets of Lima to pay their final respects to the man many considered the father of Peru's modern democracy.


[edit]Further reading

  • Peru's Own Conquest by Fernando Belaúnde Terry (translated by David A. Robinson)
  • Inside South America by John Gunther
  • Peru: A Country Study, published by the United States Library of Congress

[edit]External links

Party political offices
Preceded by
Acción Popular presidential candidate
1962 (lost)
1963 (won)
1980 (won)
Succeeded by
Javier Alva Orlandini
Preceded by
General Secretary of Acción Popular
July 1956 – August 2001
Succeeded by
Valentín Paniagua
Political offices
Preceded by
Nicolás Lindley
President of Peru
July 1963 – October 1968
Succeeded by
Juan Velasco
President of the Revolutionary Government
Preceded by
Francisco Morales Bermúdez
President of Peru
July 1980 – July 1985
Succeeded by
Alan García
Preceded by
Senator of the Republic
July 1985 – April 1992
Succeeded by
(Senate dissolved)


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