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Alan Gabriel Ludwig García Pérez (born May 23, 1949 in Lima) was President of Peru from 1985 to 1990. His presidency was marked by bouts of hyperinflation, social turmoil, human rights violations, and economic downturn.
García's term in office was marked by bouts of hyperinflation, which reached 7,649% in 1990 and had a cumulative total of 2,200,200% between July 1985 and July 1990, thereby profoundly destabilizing the Peruvian economy. Owing to such chronic inflation, the Peruvian currency, the Sol was replaced by the Inti in mid-1985, which itself was replaced the New Sol in July 1991, at which time the New Sol had a cumulative value of one billion old Soles. During his administration, the per capita annual income of Peruvians descended to $720 (below the level of 1960) and Peru's Gross Domestic Product dropped 20%. By the end of his term, national reserves were a negative $900 million.
According to studies of the INEI and PNUD , around the start of his presidency, 41.6% of peruvians lived in poverty. During his presidency, more than 5 Million Peruvians were added to the ranks of the poor. The percentage increased 23% (to 55%) in 1991.
Garcia also made an attempt to nationalize the banking and insurance industries. He incurred the wrath of the IMF and the financial community by unilaterally declaring a ceiling on debt repayment equal to 10% of GNP, thereby isolating Peru from the international financial world until García's successor, Alberto Fujimori, resolved the matter in the early 1990s.
The economic turbulence of the time acerbated social tensions in Peru and partly contributed to the rise of the violent rebel movement Shining Path. The García administration unsuccessfully sought a military solution to the growing terrorism, committing human rights violations which are still under investigation. These include the Accomarca massacre , where forty-seven campesinos were gunned to death by the Peruvian armed forces in August 1985, the Cayara massacre (May 1988) in which some thirty were killed and dozens disappeared, and the summary execution of more than two-hundred inmates during prison riots in Lurigancho, San Juan Bautista (El Frontón) and Santa Barbara in 1986. According to an official inquiry, an estimated 1,600 "forced disappearances" took place during García's presidency.
In 1992, García went into exile in France after Fujimori's auto-coup during which the military men raided his house. The new government re-opened charges against him that he took millions of dollars in bribes. He denied the charges but by then Peru's Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that the statute of limitations had run out. He returned to Peru in 2001 to run for president, and just 90 days after arriving in Peru he managed to obtain 48% of the vote but lost by a close margin to Alejandro Toledo. Since the 2001 election, García, as leader of the APRA party, has led the opposition in the Peruvian Congress.
Despite the mixed record of his term in office, García remains a popular public figure in Peru, largely due to his oratorical skills. However, his critics claim the many poor decisions he took while in office created an environment conducive the rise of an authoritarian leader like Fujimori. Some suspect García and APRA cut a deal with Fujimori during the 1990 election, backing him in return for impunity, so as to prevent Mario Vargas Llosa and his FREDEMO party, then leading in the polls, from coming to power. During the campaign, FREDEMO had promised to investigate corruption in the García administration.
García officially started his campaign for the 2006 presidential election in Lima on February 18, 2005. His party considers him to be the best chance for APRA to regain power after Toledo's term ends.
Fernando Belaunde Terry
|President of Peru
- APRA's official site (in Spanish)
- The Alan Garcia Presidency (articles on Alan García, past and present)
- "Exiled Garcia back in Peru" (BBC, 28 January, 2001
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