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Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre

Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre
President of the Constituent Assembly
In office
July 28th 1978 – August 2nd 1979
Succeeded by Luis Alberto Sánchez
Member of Constituent Assembly
In office
July 28th 1978 – August 2nd 1979
Leader of the Peruvian Aprista Party
In office
May 7th 1924 (Worldwide), September 20th 1930 (Peru) – August 2nd 1979
Succeeded by Armando Villanueva
Personal details
Born (1895-02-22)22 February 1895
Trujillo, Peru
Died 2 August 1979(1979-08-02) (aged 84)
Lima, Peru
Political party American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA)
Residence Villa Mercedes, Ate District
Alma mater National University of Trujillo, National University of San Marcos, Oxford University, London School of Economics
Occupation Lawyer

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. He was considered the most important Peruvian intellectual of the 20th century in his country.[1]


  • Life 1
  • Ideas 2
  • Personal life 3
  • Quotation 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • Bibliography 7
  • External links 8
  • References 9


Haya de la Torre was born in the northern Peruvian city of 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.[2]

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, but was defeated in the election by Luis Miguel Sánchez Cerro.

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.


Haya de la Torre advocated a system of Latin American (or, to use his preferred term, Indo-American) solutions to Latin American problems. He called upon the region to reject both U.S. imperialism and Soviet communism.

He favored universal democracy, equal rights and respect for indigenous populations, and socialist economic policies such as agrarian reform, based on the concept of communal land ownership, and state control of industry.

Haya de la Torre advocated the overthrow of the land-owning oligarchies that had ruled Peru since colonial days, replacing them with an idealistic socialist elite. However, in exchange for attaining legal status for the party, he made opportunistic ideological swings to the right, and by the 1950s it had jettisoned most of its progressive, socialist ideals.

In addition, Haya de la Torre's single-handed dominance APRA resulted in pronounced sectarian and hierarchical traits, resulted in an exodus of some of APRA's most talented young leaders to the Marxist left.

Personal life

The lack of love interests in Haya de la Torre's life was sometimes remarked upon. Haya de la Torre once stated to APRA members: El APRA es mi mujer y ustedes son mis hijos ("The Apra is my wife and you [the members] are my children"). However, rumours of homosexuality were scattered around the country during and after his life by his political enemies, generally in a crudely homophobic fashion.

Haya de la Torre clearly liked the company of young men. André Coyné, a well-respected French literary critic who happened to be both a good friend of Haya's and the loyal lover and supporter of the Peruvian expatriate poet César Moro, states that Haya sometimes went to "bares de muchachos" (literally "young men's bars") with him, but that he doesn't know whether Haya "ejercía" (i.e., practiced homosexuality) .[3] In the end, Haya has never been found to have had any sexual partners of either gender. His supporters have sometimes claimed he had female lovers.

There have been claims that Haya de la Torre secretly married his close friend and sympathizer Ana Billinghurst (daughter of former president Guillermo Billinghurst) in 1923, but they seem to have been shown to be unfounded.[4] In the 1950s the APRA leader was forced into asylum by General Odria at the Colombian Embassy in Lima. Ana Billinghurst died while he was under diplomatic protection and was unable to attend her funeral.

Haya's first and middle given names are Víctor Raúl. Combined, it is a popular boys' name among APRA members and supporters.


See also


  1. ^ Newspaper RPP (ed.). "(Spanish)Una curiosa estatua de Haya de la Torre divide a trujillanos". Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ John Mackay Metzger, The Hand and the Road: The Life and Times of John A. Mackay (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 121-122
  3. ^ Llámalo amor, si quieres, Toño Angulo Daneri. Lima, Aguilar, 2004
  4. ^


  • Robert J. Alexander, “Victor Raúl Haya de la Torre and ‘Indo-America,’” in Prophets of the Revolution: Profiles of Latin American Leaders (New York: Macmillan Company, 1962), 75-108.
  • Germán Arciniegas, “The Military vs. Aprismo in Peru,” in The State of Latin America (New York: Knopf, 1952), 79-94.
  • John A. Mackay, "The APRA Movement," in The Meaning of Life: Christian Truth and Social Change in Latin America (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2014), 177-186.
  • John A. Mackay, The Other Spanish Christ (New York: Macmillan, 1932), 193-198.
  • Paul E. Sigmund, ed., Models of Political Change in Latin America (New York: Praeger, 1970), 180-187.
  • “Víctor Haya de la Torre Is Dead; Elder Statesman of Peru Was 84,” Obituary (AP), New York Times, August 4, 1979, 24.

External links

  • APRA's official site
  • More photographs of Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre


Preceded by
President of the Peruvian Aprista Party
Succeeded by
Armando Villanueva
Preceded by
Peruvian Aprista Party presidential candidate
1931, 1962, 1963
Succeeded by
Armando Villanueva
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