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American Popular Revolutionary Alliance
The American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA), today officially known as Partido Aprista Peruano (Peruvian Aprista Party) is Peru's oldest and one of its best-established political parties. It is currently the leading opposition party in the Peruvian Congress. APRA is as much a social phenomenon as a political movement, with a membership whose loyalty to the party has been unwavering for several generations.
APRA was originally founded by Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre in Mexico City on 7 May 1924 with aspirations to becoming a continent-wide party, and it subsequently influenced a number of of other Latin American political movements, including Bolivia's Revolutionary Nationalist Movement (Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario, MNR) and Costa Rica's National Liberation Party (Partido Liberación Nacional, PLN).
APRA initially espoused anti-imperalism, pan-Americanism, international solidarity and economic nationalism. Years of repression and clandestinity, as well as Haya de la Torre's single-handed dominance of the party, resulted in striking sectarian and hierarchical traits. The party's structure and its hold over its rank and file proved more lasting than its original program.
Oportunistic ideological swings to the right by Haya de la Torre in the 1950s, in exchange for attaining legal status for the party, resulted in an exodus of some of APRA's most talented young leaders to the Marxist left, including the Peruvian Communist Party founded by theorist José Carlos Mariátegui.
After years of highs and lows, APRA finally obtained power when Alan García Pérez was elected president in 1985. His presidency was marked by hyperinflation, social turmoil, human rights violations, and economic downturn.
Despite APRA's less-than-sucessful time in power, it managed to obtain 19.6 percent of the vote in the first round of the 1990 elections, more than any of the other traditional parties. For the final runoff, it is thought that APRA may have cut a deal with Cambio 90, the party of dark-horse candidate Alberto Fujimori, to prevent the leading candidate Mario Vargas Llosa from getting elected. In any case, Fujimori was subsequently elected.
APRA nearly returned to power in the 2001 elections, held after Fujimori's sudden resignation. García, who remains popular in Peru, received 48 percent of the vote but lost by a close margin to Alejandro Toledo.
In February 2005, García officially commenced his campaign for the 2006 presidential election.
APRA is a member of the Socialist International; however, it has not presented itself as a socialist party for the last half century.
The youth organization of APRA is known as Juventud Aprista Peruana.
- APRA's political party website (in Spanish)
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