Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Fernando Belaúnde Terry
|Term of Office:||1963-1968, 1980-1985|
|Predecessor:||Francisco Morales Bermúdez|
|Date of Birth:||1912|
|Place of Birth:||Lima|
|First Lady :||Violeta Correa|
|Political party:||Acción Popular|
Fernando Belaúnde Terry (October 7, 1912 – June 4, 2002) was President of Peru for two terms (1963–1968 and 1980–1985). Deposed by a military coup in 1968, he was re-elected in 1980 after twelve years of military rule. During both terms, economic turbulence and the increase of guerrilla activities in the country led to human rights violations by both insurgents and the Peruvian armed forces. Nevertheless, he was admired for his personal integrity and his commitment to the democratic process.
The second of four children, Belaúnde was born in Lima into a wealthy family. His father moved the family to France and Fernando attended high school there.
From 1924 to 1935, he studied architecture in the United States and France, graduating with a degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked as an architect in Mexico for a brief time, but returned to Peru in 1936, where he started his professional career in the Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería . After several years, he was appointed dean of the school's department of architecture.
Belaúnde's political career began in 1956, when he founded the Popular Action Party (Accion Popular). His presidential candidacy was launched by the "National Front of Democratic Youth". He was able to garner strong popular support, but was not enough to get him the presidency; he obtained the second place, and the election was won by Manuel Prado. Between 1956 and 1962, Belaúnde traveled extensively in the country, looking for inspiration, and during this time the ideological principles of the Popular Action Party began to form and mature.
Belaúnde ran for president once again in the general elections of 1962, with his own party, Acción Popular. He was narrowly defeated by the APRA, which, however, failed to get the 33.33% of the vote required to win outright. Claiming the elections where fraudulent, the Peruvian military interceded to depose Prado and installed a military junta. The following year, there were new elections, which were won by Belaunde by, again, a narrow margin.
During Belaúnde's first term in office, he spurred numerous developmental projects. These included the Carretera Marginal de la Selva, a much-needed highway linking Chiclayo on the Pacific coast with then isolated northern regions of Amazonas and San Martín. He also advanced the ambitious Santiago Antunez de Mayolo and Chira Piura irrigation projects, and the Tinajones, Jequetepeque, Majes, Chavimochic, Olmos, Chinecas hydroelectric projects. Belaúnde also oversaw the establishment of the Peruvian National Bank (Banco de la Nación). To alleviate poverty, Belaúnde also promoted a program of "social interest" homes in Lima and other cities, which benefited hundreds of thousands of families. However, his administration was also blamed for making bad economic decisions, and by 1967 the sol was seriously devaluated.
in August 1968, the Belaúnde government announced the settlement of a long-standing dispute with a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey over claims to the rich La Brea and Pariñas oil fields. However, widespread anger about Belaúnde's decision to pay the Standard Oil compensation for handing over the installation to Peru forced his cabinet to resign on October 1. A further cause of anger was the fact that the document of agreement was given by Belaunde to the press with the final page eleven missing and signatures were squeezed at the bottom of page ten. The missing page eleven became a cause célèbre and was later shown on television containing the contribution that Belaúnde had promised to pay. Several days later, Belaúnde himself was removed from office by the military junta. His successor, General Velasco later finalized the recovery of the La Brea and Pariñas oilfields.
Belaúnde came to power again in 1980 in free elections. He began his second term by adopting a new constitution (the constitution that existed in 1975 had been abrogated by his predecessor). Gradually he undid the agrarian reform initiated by Velasco and reversed his independent stance vis-à-vis the United States. During the next five years, per capita income declined, Peru's foreign debt burgeoned, and violence by leftist guerrillas (notably Shining Path) rose steadily. His government was subsequently accused of widespread human rights violations; APRODEH and other human rights groups estimate that there were 1,230 forced disappearances during his second term in office. In the elections of 1985, Belaúnde was defeated by American Popular Revolutionary Alliance candidate Alan García.
Belaúnde died in Lima in 2002 at age 89.
- "Peru mourns death of 'model democrat'" – BBC News
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