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Ollanta Humala

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Ollanta Humala
Ollanta Humala in Brasília, March 2, 2006
Leader of the Peruvian Nationalist Party
In office
2005 – present
Personal details
Born (1963-06-26) June 26, 1963
Political party Peruvian Nationalist Party
Spouse(s) Nadine Heredia
Residence Lima
Occupation Military

Ollanta Moisés Humala Tasso (born June 26, 1963) is a Peruvian left-leaning nationalist politician who ran for president in 2006 but lost in a runoff to Alan García. The son of Isaac Humala, a former member of the Communist Party of Peru - Red Fatherland, he joined the Peruvian Army in 1982. In the military he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel; in 1992 he fought in the internal conflict against Shining Path and three years later he participated in the Cenepa War against Ecuador. On October 2000, Humala led an unsuccessful military uprising against President Alberto Fujimori and was pardoned by the Peruvian Congress after the downfall of the Fujimori regime.

In 2005 he founded the Peruvian Nationalist Party and registered to run in the 2006 presidential election. The nomination was made under the Union for Peru ticket as the Nationalist party did not achieve its electoral inscription on time. He won the first round of the elections, held on April 9, 2006, with 30.62% of the valid votes. A runoff was held on June 4 between Humala and Alan García of the Peruvian Aprista Party. Humala lost this round with 47.47% of the valid votes versus 52.62% for García. After his defeat, Humala has remained as an important figure within Peruvian politics.

Military career

Ollanta Humala is the son of Isaac Humala, lawyer, member of the Communist Party of Peru - Red Fatherland, and ideological leader of the Ethnocacerista movement. He is the brother of Antauro Humala, now in prison for a failed uprising in January 2005. Humala was born in Ayacucho and attended at the Japanese-Peruvian school La Union in Lima. He began his military career in 1982 when he entered Chorrillos Military School with the rank of lieutenant.

In 1991, now with the rank of Captain, he joined the Grupo Cacerista while taking a basic course at the Military Intelligence School of Peru. The clandestine group was under investigation by the director of the school at the time and was composed of active and retired military officials who rejected what they viewed as corruption within the Peruvian military and supported a nationalist ideology. Many of these now make up Humala's core base of support.

In his military career, Humala was also involved in the two major Peruvian conflicts of the past 20 years, the battle against the insurgent organization Shining Path and the 1995 Cenepa War with Ecuador. In 1992 Humala served in Tingo María fighting the remnants of the Shining Path and in 1995 he served in the Cenepa War on the border with Ecuador. There have been some accusations that he incurred in torture, under the nom de guerre "Capitan Carlos" ("Captain Carlos"), while he was the commander of a military base in the jungle region of Madre Mia from 1992 to 1993. His brother Antauro Humala stated in 2006 that Humala had used such a name during their activities. Humala, in an interview with Jorge Ramos, acknowledged that he went under the pseudonym Captain Carlos but stated that other soldiers went under the same name and denied participation in any human rights abuses.

2000 uprising

In October 2000, Humala led an uprising in Toquepala against then President Alberto Fujimori. The main reason for the rebellion was the return of Vladimiro Montesinos, former intelligence chief who had fled Peru for asylum in Panama after being caught on video trying to bribe an opposition congressman. This return led to fears that Montesinos still had much power in Fujimori's government, so Humala and about 60 other Peruvian soldiers revolted against senior army commanders.

However, many of Humala's men deserted him, leaving him only 7 soldiers. During the revolt, Humala called on Peruvian "patriots" to join him in the rebellion, and some 300 former soldiers answered his call and were reported to have been in a convoy attempting to join up with Humala. The revolt gained some sympathy from the Peruvian populace with the influential left-of-centre newspaper La República calling him "valiant and decisive, unlike most in Peru". The newspaper also had many letters sent in by readers with accolades to Ollanta and his men.

In the aftermath, the Army sent hundreds of soldiers to capture the rebels. Even so, Humala and his men managed to hide until President Fujimori was impeached from office and Valentín Paniagua named interim president. Later Humala was pardoned by Congress and allowed to return to military duty. He was sent as military attaché in Paris, then in Seoul until December 2004, when he was forcibly retired. His forced retirement is suspected to have partly motivated an etnocacerista rebellion led by his brother Antauro Humala in January 2005.

Political career

In October 2005 Humala became the leader of the Partido Nacionalista Peruano (the Peruvian Nationalist Party) and ran for the presidency in 2006 on the Union for Peru (UPP) ticket.

Ambassador Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the former Peruvian Secretary-General of the United Nations and founder of UPP, told the press on December 5 2005 that he did not support the election of Humala as the party's presidential candidate. He said that after being the UPP presidential candidate in 1995, he had not had any further contact with UPP and therefore did not take part in choosing Humala as the party's presidential candidate for the 2006 elections.

On March 17, 2006 Humala's campaign came under some controversy as his father, Issac Humala, said "If I was President, I would grant amnesty to him ( Abimael Guzmán) and the other incarcerated members of the Shining Path". He made similar statements about amnesty for Víctor Polay, the leader of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, and other leaders of the MRTA. But Ollanta Humala distanced himself from the more radical members of his family during his campaign.

Ollanta Humala's brother, Ulises Humala, ran against him in the election, but was considered an extremely minor candidate and came in 14th place in the election.

On April 9, 2006 the first round of the Peruvian national election was held. Humala came in first place getting 30.62% of the valid votes, and immediately began preparing to face Alan García, who obtained 24.32%, in a runoff election on June 4.

In the second round campaigning for the Peruvian elections Diego Maradona the Argentinian soccer star, announced that he would visit Peru on May 4 to play a friendly game with former Peruvian soccer players. Maradona has also expressed his support for Humala's campaign and is a personal friend of Cuban President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. In response to the announcement that Maradona was coming to Peru to support Humala the candidate for the APRA party Alan Garcia was quoted as saying "Maradona comes by order from his friends in Cuba and Venezuela and even so Ollanta Humala will not manage to pull a goal on us". In the end, Maradona did not make any political statements after all.

On May 18, 2006 the University of Lima released a poll predicting second round election results with Humala receiving 31.1% of votes and his opponent Alan Garcia receiving 50.6% of the vote.

On May 20, 2006, the day before the first Presidential debate between Alan Garcia and Ollanta Humala, a tape of the former Peruvian intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos was released by Montesinos' lawyer to the press with Montesinos claiming that Humala had started the October 29, 2000 military uprising against the Fujimori government to facilitate his escape from Peru amidst corruption scandals. Montesinos is quoted as saying it was a "farce, an operation of deception and manipulation".

Humala immediately responded to the charges by accusing Montesinos of being in collaboration with Garcia's Aprista Party with an intention to undermine his candidacy. Humala is quoted as stating "I want to declare my indignation at the statements" and going on to say " who benefits from the declarations that stain the honour of Ollanta Humala? Evidently they benefit Alan Garcia". In another message that Montesinos released to the media through his lawyer he claimed that Humala was a "political pawn" of Cuban President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in an "asymmetric war" against the United States. Montesinos went on to state that Humala "is not a new ideologist or political reformer, but he is an instrument".

On May 24, 2006 Humala warned of possible voter fraud in the upcoming second round elections scheduled for June 4. He urged UPP supporters to register as poll watchers "so votes are not stolen from us during the tabulation at the polling tables." Humala went on to cite similar claims of voting fraud in the first round made by right-wing National Unity candidate Lourdes Flores when she told reporters that she felt she had "lost at the tabulation tables, not at the ballot box". When asked if he had proof for his claims by CPN Radio Humala stated "I do not have proof. If I had the proof, I would immediately denounce those responsible to the electoral system". Alan Garcia responded by stating that Humala was "crying fraud" because the polls show him losing the second round.

In the month of May 2006 the Peruvian Communist Party - Red Fatherland, of which Humala's father Isaac Humala is a member, in a prepared statement titled "A Vote for Humala and a Vote for Change" endorsed Humala's candidacy in the second round.

Geographic distribution of Second Round votes, by winning candidate.
  Alan García, >2/3 of valid votes
  Alan García, <2/3 of valid votes
  Ollanta Humala, >2/3
  Ollanta Humala, <2/3

On June 4, 2006 the second round of the Peruvian elections were held. With 77% of votes counted and Humala behind Garcia 45.5% to 55.5% respectively, Humala conceded defeat to Alan Garcia and congratulated his opponent's campaign stating at a news conference "we recognise the results...and we salute the forces that competed against us, those of Mr Garcia". He has refused to meet with Garcia to congratulate him as the winner as is customary after elections.

Questioned by the media, Humala denied any ties to Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez, but said he would welcome his support. On January 3, 2006, Evo Morales made his first official visit to Venezuela as President-Elect of Bolivia. Humala attended the official ceremonies held in the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas where both Morales and Chávez pledged their support to Humala in his bid for the 2006 presidential race in Peru. In objection to this, Peru recalled its ambassador to Venezuela, Carlos Urrutia, in protest against Venezuela's alleged interference in the election.

In March 2006, Humala also met with President Néstor Kirchner of Argentina in Buenos Aires. During the meeting, Humala stated that regional integration took priority over bilateral agreements with the United States and called Kirchner a "brother" in the cause to integrate Latin America. Humala would also meet with Brazilian President Lula da Silva to discuss regional integration.

On May 8, 2006 Humala met with Bolivian President Evo Morales in Copacabana, Bolivia on the Bolivian border with Peru. While meeting with Morales Humala stated that he stood in "solidarity with the historical and legitimate demand of the Bolivian Republic" of access to the Pacific Ocean which Bolivia lost after the War of the Pacific when Chile annexed what is now the Antofagasta Region of Chile. Humala also explicitly stated that he was not opposed to a free trade agreement with the United States but said that any free trade agreement with the United States would have to be negotiated through the Andean Community (CAN) and signed with approval of all members of CAN. During the meeting Humala emphasized the need to maintain CAN as a bloc to negotiate with the United States and asked Morales to work to help maintain the CAN, referring to the CAN's recently troubles with Venezuela removing itself as a member in protest to the signing of trade agreements with the U.S. by Peru and Colombia.

On June 12, 2006 Carlos Torres Caro, Humala's Vice Presidential running mate and elected Congressman for the Union for Peru, stated that a faction of the UPP would split off from the party after disagreements with Humala to create what Torres calls a "constructive opposition". The split came after Humala called on leftist parties to form an alliance with the UPP to become the principal opposition party in Congress. Humala had met with representatives of the Communist Party of Peru - Red Fatherland and the New Left Movement. Humala stated that the opposition would work to "make sure Garcia complies with his electoral promises" and again stated that he would not boycott Garcia's inauguration on July 28, 2006.

On August 16, 2006 prosecutors in Peru filed charges against Humala for alleged human rights abuses including forced disappearance, torture, and murder against Shining Path guerillas during his service in San Martín. Humala responded by denying the charges and stating that he was "a victim of political persecution" making claims that the charges were "orchestrated by the Alan Garcia administration to neutralize any alternative to his power".


Andrés Avelino Cáceres, source of inspiration for many Peruvian nationalist movements

Ollanta Humala is often associated with his family's Antauro, Ulises, and Isaac Humala's " Movimiento Etnocacerista", an ethnic nationalist group composed of former and current Peruvian soldiers many of whom are veterans from the domestic conflicts against the Shining Path, and to a lesser extent against the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement and the brief Cenepa War between Ecuador and Peru. But Ollanta has distanced himself from his family during his campaign and considers himself to be a "nationalist" ideologically apart from the etnocacerista movement.

Etnocaceristas strongly embrace identification with their Quechua language, Incan heritage, nationalization of the country's industries (beginning with recently privatized industries), reintroduction of the death penalty, legalization of coca cultivation, and a strong anti-Chilean stance, particularly against Chilean investors which many etnocaceristas claim are manipulating the country's economy. The name etnocacerista is composed of two parts, the first evoking ethnic identity, particularly Peru's Incan Native American origins. The second part, "cacerista", refers to 19th century Peruvian president and war hero Andrés Avelino Cáceres. During the War of the Pacific Cáceres led the Peruvian resistance against Chilean occupying forces. Chile's annexation of the resource rich Tarapacá Region, an outcome of the five year war, led the nation to become Peru's principal rival.

Ollanta Humala has embraced the Bolivarian concept of a pan-American republic, often referring to other Latin American nations as "brother nations" particularly with regard to Bolivia which was for a short time in a Confederacy with Peru and which sided with Peru in the War of the Pacific against Chile. Humala has also expressed sympathy with the government of Juan Velasco, which took power in a bloodless military coup on October 3, 1968 and nationalized various of the country's industries whilst pursuing a favorable foreign policy with Cuba and the Soviet Union.

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