Republic of Peru
Area: 1.28 million sq. km. (496,225 sq. mi.). Peru is the third-largest country
in South America and is approximately three times the size of California.
Lima (capital), Arequipa, Chiclayo, Cuzco, Huancayo, Ica, Trujillo, Ayacucho,
Piura, Iquitos, Chimbote.
Terrain: Western arid coastal plains, central rugged
Andean mountains, and eastern lowlands with tropical forests that are part of
the Amazon basin.
Climate: Arid and mild in coastal area, temperate to frigid
in the Andes, and warm and humid in the jungle lowlands.
Ethnic groups: Indigenous (45%), mixed background ("mestizo") (37%),
European (15%), African, Japanese, Chinese, and other (3%).
million (July 2006). Approximately 30% of the population lives in the Lima/Callao
Annual population growth rate (2006 est.): 1.32%.
Roman Catholic (85%), Protestant (10%).
Languages: Spanish is the principal
language. Quechua, Aymara and other indigenous languages also have official status.
Years compulsory--11. Attendance--92% ages 6-11, and 66% ages
12-16. Literacy--95% in urban areas, 77% in rural areas.
mortality rate (2006)--30.94/1,000. Life expectancy (2006)--68.05
years male; 71.71 years female.
Unemployment (2005): 9.6%; underemployment
Type: Constitutional republic.
July 28, 1821.
Constitution: December 31, 1993.
two Vice Presidents, and a Council of Ministers led by a Prime Minister. Legislative--Unicameral
Congress. Judicial--Four-tier court structure consisting of Supreme Court
and lower courts.
Administrative divisions: 25 departments subdivided into
180 provinces and 1,747 districts.
Political parties: Alianza Popular Revolucionaria
Americana (APRA), National Unity (UN), Peru Posible (PP), Popular Action (AP),
Union for Peru (UPP), Solucion Popular, Somos Peru (SP).
and mandatory for citizens 18 to 70.
GDP (2005): $78.4 billion.
Annual growth rate (2005): 6.7%.
GDP (2005): $2,806.
Natural resources: Iron ore, copper, gold, silver, zinc,
lead, fish, petroleum, natural gas, and forestry.
Manufacturing (14.9% of GDP,
2004): Types--Food and beverages, textiles and apparel, nonferrous and
precious metals, nonmetallic minerals, petroleum refining, paper, chemicals, iron
and steel, fishmeal.
Agriculture (8.3% of GDP, 2004): Products--Coffee,
asparagus, paprika, artichoke, sugarcane, potato, rice, banana, maize, poultry,
Other sectors (by percentage of GDP in 2004): Services (55.0%),
mining (6.6%), construction (4.8%), fisheries (0.5%).
(2005)--$17 billion: gold, copper, fishmeal, petroleum, zinc, textiles, apparel,
asparagus and coffee. Major markets (2005)--U.S. (30%), China (11%), Chile
(6.6%), Canada (6.0%), Switzerland (4.6%), Japan (3.6%), Spain (3.3%), Netherlands
(3.1%). Imports (2005)--$12.5 billion: machinery, vehicles, processed
food, petroleum and steel. Major suppliers (2005)--U.S. (17.7%), China
(8.5%), Brazil (8.2%), Ecuador (7.3%), Colombia (6.2%).
is the fifth most populous country in Latin America (after Brazil, Mexico, Colombia
and Argentina). Twenty-one cities have a population of 100,000 or more. Rural
migration has increased the urban population from 35.4% of the total population
in 1940 to an estimated 73% today.
Peruvians are either Spanish-speaking mestizos--a term that usually refers to
a mixture of indigenous and European/Caucasian--or Amerindians, largely Quechua-speaking
indigenous people. Peruvians of European descent make up about 15% of the population.
There also are small numbers of persons of African, Japanese, and Chinese ancestry.
Socioeconomic and cultural indicators are increasingly important as identifiers.
For example, Peruvians of Amerindian descent who have adopted aspects of Hispanic
culture also are considered mestizo. With economic development, access to education,
intermarriage, and large-scale migration from rural to urban areas, a more homogeneous
national culture is developing, mainly along the relatively more prosperous coast.
Peru's distinct geographical regions are mirrored in a socioeconomic divide between
the coast's mestizo-Hispanic culture and the more diverse, traditional Andean
cultures of the mountains and highlands.
HISTORY, GOVERNMENT, AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
The Inca Empire and Spanish Conquest
the Spanish landed in 1531, Peru's territory was the nucleus of the highly developed
Inca civilization. Centered at Cuzco, the Incan Empire extended over a vast region
from northern Ecuador to central Chile. In search of Inca wealth, the Spanish
conqueror Francisco Pizarro, who arrived in the territory after the Incas had
fought a debilitating civil war, conquered the weakened people. The Spanish captured
the Incan capital at Cuzco by 1533, and consolidated their control by 1542. Gold
and silver from the Andes enriched the conquerors, and Peru became the principal
source of Spanish wealth and power in South America.
founded Lima in 1535. The viceroyalty established at Lima in 1542 initially had
jurisdiction over all of the Spanish colonies in South America. By the time of
the wars of independence (1820-24), Lima had become one of the most distinguished
and aristocratic colonial capital and the chief Spanish stronghold in the Americas.
movement was led by Jose de San Martin of Argentina and Simon Bolivar of Venezuela.
San Martin proclaimed Peruvian independence from Spain on July 28, 1821. Emancipation
was completed in December 1824, when Venezuelan General Antonio Jose de Sucre
defeated the Spanish troops at Ayacucho, ending Spanish rule in South America.
Spain subsequently made futile attempts to regain its former colonies, but in
1879 it finally recognized Peru's independence.
independence, Peru and its neighbors engaged in intermittent territorial disputes.
Chile's victory over Peru and Bolivia in the War of the Pacific (1879-83) resulted
in a territorial settlement in which Peru ceded the department of Tarapaca and
the provinces of Tacna and Arica to Chile. In 1929, Chile returned Tacna to Peru.
Following a clash between Peru and Ecuador in 1941, the Rio Protocol--of which
the United States is one of four guarantors (along with Argentina, Brazil and
Chile)--sought to establish the boundary between the two countries. Continuing
boundary disagreement led to brief armed conflicts in early 1981 and early 1995,
but in 1998 the governments of Peru and Ecuador signed an historic peace treaty
and demarcated the border. In late 1999, the governments of Peru and Chile likewise
implemented the last outstanding article of their 1929 border agreement. Peru
and Chile still dispute the sea boundary.
Military Rule and Return
to Democracy (1968-1980)
The military has been prominent in Peruvian history.
Coups have repeatedly interrupted civilian constitutional government. The most
recent period of military rule (1968-80) began when Gen. Juan Velasco Alvarado
overthrew elected President Fernando Belaunde Terry of the Popular Action Party
(AP). As part of what has been called the "first phase" of the military government's
nationalist program, Velasco undertook an extensive agrarian reform program and
nationalized the fishmeal industry, some petroleum and mining companies, and several
Because of Velasco's economic mismanagement
and deteriorating health, he was replaced in 1975 by Gen. Francisco Morales Bermudez.
Morales Bermudez tempered the authoritarian abuses of the Velasco administration
and began the task of restoring the country's economy. Morales Bermudez presided
over the return to civilian government under a new constitution and in the May
1980 elections, President Belaunde Terry was returned to office by an impressive
Instability in the 1980s (1982-1990)
Nagging economic problems left over from the military government persisted,
worsened by an occurrence of the "El Niño" weather phenomenon in 1982-83, which
caused widespread flooding in some parts of the country, severe droughts in others,
and decimated the fishing industry. The fall in international commodity prices
to their lowest levels since the Great Depression combined with the natural disasters
to decrease production, depress wages, exacerbate unemployment, and spur inflation.
The economic collapse was reflected in worsening living conditions for Peru’s
poor and provided a breeding ground for social and political discontent. The emergence
of the terrorist group Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) in rural areas in 1980--followed
shortly thereafter by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) in Lima--sent
the country further into chaos. The terrorists were financed in part from alliances
with narcotraffickers, who had established a stronghold in the Peruvian Andes
during this period. Peru and Bolivia became the largest coca producers in the
world, accounting for roughly four-fifths of the production in South America.
Amid inflation, economic hardship, and terrorism,
the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) won the presidential election
in 1985, bringing Alan García to office. The transfer of the presidency from Belaunde
to García on July 28, 1985, was Peru's first transfer of power from one democratically
elected leader to another in 40 years.
Fujimori Decade (1990-2000)
Economic mismanagement by the García administration
led to hyperinflation from 1988 to 1990. Concerned about the economy, the increasing
terrorist threat from Sendero Luminoso, and allegations of official corruption,
voters chose a relatively unknown mathematician-turned-politician, Alberto Fujimori,
as president in 1990. Fujimori felt he had a mandate for radical change. He immediately
implemented drastic economic reforms to tackle inflation (which dropped from 7,650%
in 1990 to 139% in 1991), but found opposition to further drastic measures, including
dealing with the growing insurgency. On April 4, 1992, Fujimori dissolved the
Congress in the "auto-coup," revised the constitution, and called new congressional
elections. With a more pliant Congress, Fujimori proceeded to govern unimpeded.
Large segments of the judiciary, the military and the media were co-opted by Fujimori's
security advisor, the shadowy Vladimiro Montesinos. The government unleashed a
counterattack against the insurgency that resulted in countless human right abuses
and eventually quashed the Shining Path and MRTA. During this time he also privatized
state-owned companies, removed investment barriers and significantly improved
questionable decision to seek a third term, and subsequent tainted electoral victory
in June 2000, brought political and economic turmoil. A bribery scandal that broke
just weeks after he began his third term in July forced Fujimori to call new elections
in which he would not run. Fujimori fled the country and resigned from office
in November 2000. A caretaker government under Valentin Paniagua presided over
new presidential and congressional elections in April 2001. The new elected government,
led by President Alejandro Toledo, took office July 28, 2001.
Toledo Administration (2001-2006)
The Toledo government successfully consolidated
Peru's return to democracy, a process that had begun under President Paniagua.
The government undertook initiatives to implement the recommendations made by
the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which had been charged with studying
the circumstances surrounding the human rights abuses and violations committed
between 1980 and 2000. Criminal charges for corruption and human rights violations
were brought against former President Fujimori, who is in Chile fighting efforts
to extradite him to Peru. Despite being a frequent target of media criticism,
Toledo maintained strong commitments to freedom of the press.
Toledo's strong economic management led to an impressive economic boom in Peru
that remains strong. Toledo unveiled the construction of a road that will connect
Brazil and Peru's isolated interior to the Pacific coast. Poverty reduction has
been uneven, however. Although poverty in some areas has decreased by up to 37%
over the last five years, nationally it has only decreased by 5% and over half
of Peruvians are still considered to be living below the poverty line (living
on less than $2 a day). In 2005 the government implemented "Juntos," a program
to double the income of people living under extreme poverty (less than $1 a day).
2006 Elections and Transition
June 4, 2006, APRA candidate Alan García Pérez was elected to the presidency by
52.5% of the voters in his runoff with Ollanta Humala. After a disappointing presidential
term from 1985 to 1990, García returns to the presidency with promises to improve
Peru’s social conditions. García seeks to balance economic stability with increased
social spending. His immediate goal is to decrease poverty, especially in Peru’s
southern highlands where poverty is most acute. With 36 seats, APRA has the second-largest
bloc--next to the Union for Peru Party’s 45 seats--in the 120-seat unicameral
Congress which was sworn in July 2006, a couple of days before the new President.
and Political Institutions
The president is popularly elected for a five-year
term. A constitutional amendment passed in 2000 prevents reelection. The first
and second vice presidents also are popularly elected but have no constitutional
functions unless the president is unable to discharge his duties. The principal
executive body is the Council of Ministers, comprised of 15 members and headed
by a prime minister. The president appoints its members, who must be ratified
by the Congress. All Executive laws sent to Congress must be approved by the Council
The legislative branch consists
of a unicameral Congress of 120 members. In addition to passing laws, Congress
ratifies treaties, authorizes government loans, and approves the government budget.
The judicial branch of government is headed
by a 16-member Supreme Court. The Constitutional Tribunal interprets the constitution
on matters of individual rights. Superior courts in departmental capitals review
appeals from decisions by lower courts. Courts of first instance are located in
provincial capitals and are divided into civil, penal, and special chambers. The
judiciary has created several temporary specialized courts in an attempt to reduce
the large backlog of cases pending final court action. In 1996 a human rights
Ombudsman's office was created.
divided into 25 regions. The regions are subdivided into provinces, which are
composed of districts. High authorities in the regional and local levels are elected.
The country's latest decentralization program is in hiatus after the proposal
to merge departments was defeated in a national referendum in October 2005.
President--Alan GARCIA Pérez
First Vice President--Luis
Second Vice President--Lourdes MENDOZA del Solar
of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister)--Jorge DEL CASTILLO Galvez
Affairs Minister--José García Belaúnde
Finance and Economy Minister--Luis CARRANZA
Defense Minister--Allan WAGNER Tizón
Minister of the Interior--Pilar
Ambassador to the United States--Felipe Ortiz de Zevallos
Representative to the United Nations--Oswaldo DE RIVERO
Ambassador to the Organization
of American States--Luis Fernando DE LA FLOR
maintains an embassy in the United States
at 1700 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036 (tel. (202) 833-9860/67,
consular section: (202) 462-1084). Peru has consulates in Atlanta, New York, Paterson
(NJ), Miami, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, and
economy has shown strong growth over the past five years, helped by market-oriented
economic reforms and privatizations in the 1990s, and measures taken since 2001
to promote trade and attract investment. GDP grew 6.7% in 2005, 4.8% in 2004,
4.0 in 2003, and 4.9% in 2002. President Alan Garcia and his economic team have
continued these policies. GDP is projected to grow by more than 7% in 2006. Recent
economic expansion has been driven by construction, mining, export growth, investment,
and domestic demand. Inflation is projected to remain under 2% in 2006, and the
fiscal deficit is only 0.6% of GDP. In 2006 external debt decreased to $22 billion
(est.), and foreign reserves were a record $14.1 billion at the end of 2005.
economy is well managed, and better tax collection and growth are increasing revenues,
with expenditures keeping pace. Private investment is rising and becoming more
broad-based. The government has had success with recent international bond issuances,
resulting in ratings upgrades. The Garcia administration is studying decentralization
initiatives, and is focused on bringing more small businesses into the formal
and the U.S. signed the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) on April 12,
2006 in Washington, DC. The PTPA was ratified by the Peruvian Congress on June
28, 2006, but has not yet been ratified by the U.S. Congress. On December 9, 2006,
the U.S. Congress extended U.S.-Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act
(ATPDEA) preferences through June 2007.
is projected to register a trade surplus of over $6 billion in 2006. Exports reached
$23 billion, partially as a result of high mineral prices. Peru’s major trading
partners are the U.S., China, EU, Chile, and Japan. In 2005, 30.6% of exports
went to the U.S. ($5.2 billion) and 17.9% of imports came from the U.S. ($2.1
billion). Exports include gold, copper, fishmeal, petroleum, zinc, textiles, apparel,
asparagus, and coffee. Imports include machinery, vehicles, processed food, petroleum
and steel. Peru belongs to the Andean Community, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
(APEC) forum, and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Peruvian Government actively seeks to attract both
foreign and domestic investment in all sectors of the economy. The registered
stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) is over $14.3 billion, with the U.S.,
Spain, and the United Kingdom the leading investors. FDI is concentrated in telecommunications,
mining, manufacturing, finance, and electricity.
Peru is a source of both natural gas and petroleum. In
August 2004, Peru inaugurated operations of the Camisea natural gas project. Camisea
gas is fueling an electricity generator and six industrial plans in Lima, with
other facilities in the process of switching to gas. In a second phase, liquefied
natural gas (LNG) will be exported to the west coast of the United States and
Mexico. The gas and condensates from Camisea are equivalent to some 2.4 billion
barrels of oil, approximately seven times the size of Peru’s proven oil reserves.
The Camisea project, when completed, is expected to gradually transform Peru’s
economy, catalyze national development, and turn Peru into a net energy exporter.
is the world’s second-largest producer of silver, sixth-largest producer of gold
and copper, and a significant source of the world’s zinc and lead. Mineral exports
have consistently accounted for the most significant portion of Peru’s export
revenue, averaging around 50% of total earnings in 1998 to 2005.
Peru generally enjoys friendly relations with its neighbors.
In November 1999, Peru and Chile signed three agreements that put to rest the
remaining obstacles holding up implementation of the 1929 Border Treaty. (The
1929 Border Treaty officially ended the 1879 War of the Pacific.) In late 2005,
a declaration of maritime borders by Peru's Congress set off a new round of recriminations
with Chile, which claims that the maritime borders were agreed to in fishing pacts
dating from the early 1950s. In contrast, the Garcia administration has recently
made overtures to Chile, aimed at improving that relationship.
October 1998, Peru and Ecuador signed a peace accord to resolve once and for all
border differences that had sparked violent confrontations. Peru and Ecuador are
now jointly coordinating an internationally sponsored border integration project.
The U.S. Government, as one of four guarantor states, was actively involved in
facilitating the 1998 peace accord between Peru and Ecuador and remains committed
to its implementation. The United States has pledged $40 million to the Peru-Ecuador
border integration project and another $4 million to support Peruvian and Ecuadorian
demining efforts along their common border.
1998, Peru became a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum,
facilitating closer ties and economic relations between Peru and Asian nations.
Peru will host the APEC Summit in 2008.
has been a member of the United Nations since 1949, and is a member of the Security
Council. Peruvian Javier Perez de Cuellar served as UN Secretary General from
1981 to 1991.
Peru maintains 210 troops
in peacekeeping operations in Haiti under the UN's MINUSTAH.
The United States enjoys strong and cooperative relations with
Peru. Relations were strained following the tainted re-election of former President
Fujimori in June 2000, but improved with the installation of an interim government
in November 2000 and the inauguration of the government of Alejandro Toledo in
July 2001. Relations with President Garcia’s administration are positive. The
United States continues to promote the strengthening of democratic institutions
and human rights safeguards in Peru and the integration of Peru into the world
The United States and Peru cooperate
on efforts to interdict the flow of narcotics, particularly cocaine, to the United
States. Bilateral programs are now in effect to reduce the flow of drugs through
Peru's port systems and to perform ground interdiction in tandem with successful
law enforcement operations. These U.S. Government-supported law enforcement efforts
are complemented by an aggressive effort to establish an alternative development
program for coca farmers in key coca growing areas to voluntarily reduce and eliminate
coca cultivation. This effort is funded by the Department of State's Bureau for
International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the U.S. Agency
for International Development (USAID).
investment and tourism in Peru have grown substantially in recent years. The U.S.
is Peru's number one trade partner, and economic and commercial ties will deepen
if the U.S.-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (PTPA) is passed by the U.S. Congress.
About 200,000 U.S. citizens visit Peru annually
for business, tourism, and study. About 16,000 Americans reside in Peru, and more
than 400 U.S. companies are represented in the country.
U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--J. Curtis Struble
Chief of Mission--Phyllis Powers
Director, USAID Mission--Paul Weisenfeld
for Political Affairs--Alexis Ludwig
Counselor for Economic Affairs--Adam
Counselor for Narcotics Affairs (NAS)--Susan Keogh
Public Affairs--Sam Wunder
Counselor for Management Affairs--Robert Davis
Counselor for Consular Affairs--Ray Baca
Naval and Defense Attaché--Capt. Lee Rivas
Chief, Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG)--Col. Jeffrey
Consular Agent, Cuzco--Olga Villagarcia
U.S. Embassy in Peru is located at Avenida
Encalada, Cuadra 17 s/n, Monterrico (Surco), Lima 33 (tel. (511) 434-3000; fax.
(511) 434-3037. Home page: http://lima.usembassy.gov/
embassy is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday, except U.S. and some
Peruvian holidays. The mailing address from the United States is American Embassy
Lima, APO AA 34031 (use U.S. domestic postage rates). The American Citizen Services
section is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Consular Agency in Cuzco is located at Anda Tullamayu 125 (tel. (51) (84) 224112
or (51) (84) 239451; fax. (51) (84) 233541). The USAID Building is located at
Av. Encalada cdra. 17 s/n, Monterrico (Surco) Lima 33, (tel. (511) 618-1200.
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Western Hemisphere
Office of Andean Affairs (Room 5906)
2201 C Street NW
Home Page: http://www.state.gov/
U.S. Department of Commerce
Office of Latin America and the Caribbean
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: (202) 482-0475
Home Page: http://trade.gov/
Chamber of Commerce of Peru
Avenida Ricardo Palma 836, Miraflores
Tel: (511) 241-0708
Fax: (511) 241-0709
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION
Department of State's Consular Information Program provides Consular Information
Sheets, Travel Warnings, and Public Announcements. Consular Information Sheets
exist for all countries and include information on entry requirements, currency
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and security, political
disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in the country. Travel Warnings
are issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel to
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information quickly about terrorist threats and other relatively short-term conditions
overseas that pose significant risks to the security of American travelers. Free
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passports and planning a safe trip abroad, are available on the Internet and hard
copies can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government
Printing Office, telephone: 202-512-1800; fax 202-512-2250.
information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be obtained from the Office
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National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State's
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for TDD/TTY are available Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time,
excluding federal holidays.
can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
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a web site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/index.htm
give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements,
and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A booklet
entitled Health Information for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280)
is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel.
Information on travel
conditions, visa requirements, currency and customs regulations, legal holidays,
and other items of interest to travelers also may be obtained before your departure
from a country's embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see
"Principal Government Officials" listing in this publication).
citizens who are long-term visitors or traveling in dangerous areas are encouraged
their travel via the State Department's travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov/
or at the Consular section of the U.S. embassy upon arrival in a country by filling
out a short form and sending in a copy of their passports. This may help family
members contact you in case of an emergency.
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