Courtesy Reuters

Aprismo

The Rise of Haya De La Torre

THE most striking, picturesque and exuberant personality in all Latin America is Victor Raul Haya de la Torre, of Peru, leader of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance, commonly known as APRA. It is an international movement, with branches in most Latin American countries, but its principal stronghold is Peru. There, after the overthrow of the dictator Augusto Leguía in August 1930, Aprismo just missed being swept into power. It is undoubtedly the strongest popular force in that country today. Haya de la Torre has fired the imagination not only of his own people but of an entire continent and a half. He represents a political tendency which under one name or another is gathering headway in all the southern countries, which has found considerable expression in Mexico, and which is represented to some extent by the A.B.C. secret organization in Cuba, a group under the leadership of Martínez Saenz that effectively participated in the overthrow of Machado. To understand the Apra movement and its leadership is to understand the probable evolution of Latin America in the years ahead. The impending political crises there will profoundly affect our own political and economic relations, our five billion dollars of investments, our trade, and our security in case of a new world war.

Haya de la Torre stands out as a brilliant leader with the knack of appealing to large masses of men. He has swayed thought nearly everywhere in the New World by his copious writings. He has won a picturesque halo of martyrdom because of long exile and imprisonment, and he has built up a powerful well-knit organization with an eclectic program of broad social significance, of great political opportunism and with international implications. It is a unique movement, though it has been labelled variously as communistic, socialistic, liberal, petty bourgeois, fascist -- Latin Americans are not devoid of the average man's habit in other countries of judging political events by emotions and prejudices, by conventional tags, rather than Aprismo is itself sufficient. Haya de la Torre is the outstanding exponent of the new doctrines.

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