Humala Tasso, Ollanta (Peru)
Ollanta Humala became president in July 2011. Leader of the Peruvian Nationalist Party, he was elected after two rounds of voting, defeating Keiko Fujimori, daughter of former president Alberto Fujimori. Humala was backed by the Gana Perú coalition and succeeded Alan García. He is left office in July 2016 following elections in April in which he was ineligible to stand.
Born in Lima in June 1962, Humala is the son of Isaac Humala who developed the ethno-nationalist ideology called ‘ethnocacerism’. Ollanta Humala studied in Lima before joining the military. He trained initially as a paratrooper and amphibious combatant at the School of the Americas in Panama. In 1992, as head of a detachment in Tingo María, he was involved in operations against the rebel group Shining Path, for which he was later accused of human rights abuses. By 2000 he had been promoted to lieutenant-colonel.
Also in 2000, he led an uprising (along with his brother) in a bid to force out President Alberto Fujimori and leading military commanders. Following Fujimori’s resignation the interim government pardoned Humala and awarded him the Peru Cross for Military Merit.
From 2000–04 Humala worked for the ministry of defence and in 2001 completed a master’s degree in political sciences from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. He became the military attaché to the Peruvian embassy in Paris in 2003 and studied for a doctorate in international law at the Sorbonne. In 2004 he was posted to South Korea. While there his name was linked to an uprising in Peru against President Alejandro Toledo.
In 2005 Humala founded the Peruvian Nationalist Party (PNP). With support from the Union for Peru (UPP), he ran for the presidency in 2006 but lost support over questions about his past and his left-wing sympathies. From 2006–11 he fought off several legal cases related to previous coups. In 2011, backed by the Gana Perú coalition, he ran for the presidency again, defeating Keiko Fujimori.
In 2006 Humala had defined himself as ‘anti-neoliberal’ and ‘anti-global capitalist’ but in 2011 he adopted a more moderate profile. He distanced himself from associations with Venezuela’s then president, Hugo Chávez, and stood on a platform of energy self-sufficiency, a more equitable distribution of wealth and increased taxes on mining. On coming to power, he chose a moderate cabinet, quelling worries in business circles and the Lima stock market. He announced social programmes including a non-contributory basic pension for the elderly, a public childcare programme and more scholarships to promote university education. The minimum wage was also increased.
Large-scale mining projects, such as the Conga copper and gold mine, offered potentially lucrative future revenue sources. However, popular opposition to mining schemes was widespread and protests led in Dec. 2011 to the resignation of Prime Minister Salomon Lerner, his replacement by Óscar Valdés and a major cabinet reshuffle. There were further violent anti-mining clashes in the southern Cusco region in May 2012 and in northern provinces in July, prompting the government to declare temporary states of emergency. Also in July that year, following the resignation of the unpopular Óscar Valdés and his administration in response to the unrest, Humala appointed Juan Jiménez Mayor as prime minister. However, in Sept. 2013, as thousands joined a general strike against the government’s economic policies, he reshuffled the cabinet, swearing in César Villanueva Arévalo as the new premier in Oct. However, Villanueva resigned 4 months later following a conflict with the finance minister over an increase to the minimum wage. Housing, construction and sanitation minister René Cornejo was subsequently sworn in as premier, but he too resigned in July 2014, after which labour and employment promotion minister Ana Jara Velásquez was appointed. Having been censured by Congress over a spying scandal, she too was removed from office in April 2015. Her replacement, Pedro Cateriano, who had previously held the defence portfolio, became the seventh prime minister since Ollanta Humala took office as president in 2011.
A free trade agreement with the European Union came into effect in March 2013.
Humala was ineligible to run for a second term at the elections of April 2016 owing to constitutional term limits. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski succeeded him as president 3 months later.