Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre

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Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre (* 22 February 1895 – 2 August 1979) was a Peruvian political leader who founded the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) political movement.



Haya de la Torre was born in the northern Peruvian city of Trujillo. In 1913, he enrolled in the Universidad Nacional de Trujillo to study literature, where he met and forged a solid friendship with the Peruvian poet César Vallejo. He then enrolled in the National University of San Marcos in Lima.

He was instrumental in bringing the ideas of the Argentine University Reform movement (La Reforma) to San Marcos, and administrative reforms were instituted in 1919. Part of the reform movement was university extension programs, through which the university students hoped to reach the working classes.

To that end, Haya de la Torre founded the Universidades Populares Gonzalez Prada, night schools for workers, which according to some historians formed the foundation for the Partido Aprista Peruano.

As a young man Haya also taught at the Colegio Anglo-Peruano (now Colegio San Andres), a school operated by the Free Church of Scotland in Lima. He was deeply influenced by the headmaster of the school, John A. Mackay, a Free Church missionary.[1]

In 1923 Haya de la Torre was exiled by the government of Augusto B. Leguía. On 7 May 1924, while in Mexico City, Haya de la Torre founded the APRA and the pan-Latin American movement known as Aprismo. He returned to Peru in 1931 to run for President.

That year, he was imprisoned for 15 months and his party was outlawed until 1934 and then also from 1935 to 1945. In 1945, José Luis Bustamante y Rivero became president with APRA's support. Then, in 1948, some party dissidents revolted in Callao and APRA was again outlawed.

In November of that year, Manuel Odría seized power and forced Haya de la Torre to seek asylum in the Colombian embassy in Lima where he remained for five years. The International Court of Justice at the Hague considered his case. Haya de la Torre was able to return to Peru in 1954 and his party was again legalized in 1956.

However, he continued to live mostly abroad until 1962. He ran for president again, obtaining victory by a slim margin but not enough to be constitutionally elected. Then, a military junta annulled the elections. There were new elections in 1963, but Haya was defeated in the vote.

His party remained popular. In 1979 he became president of the constitutional assembly, which drafted a new constitution. On July 12, on his death bed, he signed the new constitution.

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