Political Struggles in the 20th and 21st Centuries


For the first few decades of the 20th century, power passed back and forth between military leaders and groups motivated by deals with special interest groups, like the National Mining Society and the National Industrial Society. This period was marked by a series of coups and political instability.

Military Decenio (1968 – 1980)

During the Military Decenio (period of twelve years), Peru experienced an expansion of state control with numerous new government ministries and agencies. This government focused on moving away from relying on other countries for economic support, and instead put efforts towards creating more agricultural and economic growth. Large private farms were disbanded to create smaller farming cooperatives.

Economic growth suddenly halted in the 1970s because of a sudden shortage of resources. The government took out loans which it could not repay quickly enough. Soon the government had created a debt problem that would last through the 1980s.

Civilian Docenio (1980 – 1992)

The 1980s were especially difficult years in Peru. In 1985, Alan García was elected, and began spending heavily in an effort to rebuild the economy. His efforts were shortsighted and led to the worst economic collapse in Peruvian history.

In the early 1980s Peru’s Communist Party, known as Shining Path, began a violent campaign that killed over 30,000 people. In 1992 the Peruvian military final captured the leader, Abimael Gúzman Reynoso. After his capture, many other Shining Path terrorist groups were also captured and disbanded.