OFFICIAL NAME: Republic of Peru
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Unitary Multiparty Republic
AREA: 1,285,215 Sq Km (496,224 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 26,257,700
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Peru is located in western South
America. It is bound by Ecuador and Colombia to the north,
Brazil and Bolivia to the east, Chile to the southeast and
the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. The country is divided
into three topographical regions. (1.) The Costa which is
the littoral and foothills of the Andes. The Costa consists
of dry flat plains and sand dunes near the Sechura Desert.
(2.) The Sierra which forms the Continental Divide while
the Cordillera Central and Oriental merge with the Cordillera
Occidental in central Peru. The Sierra is also the name
of the ancient Inca empire. (3.) The Selva which accounts
for 63% of the land area and is divided into two zones.
The High Selva which contains mountain slopes and valleys,
and the Low Selva which contains tropical rain forests of
the Amazon. The principal rivers include the Maranon, Huallaga,
Ucayali, Tigre, Pastaza and Napo. Major Cities (pop. est.);
Lima 5,706,100, Arequipa 619,200, Callao 615,000, Trujillo
509,300, Chiclayo 411,500 (1993). Land Use; forested 53%,
pastures 21%, agricultural-cultivated 3%, other 23% (1993).
CLIMATE: Peru has a temperate climate along the coast which is
influenced by a cold ocean current called the Humboldt. There is a rainy
season from June to October and conditions are cooler in the Andes with
the rainy season from October to April while the Selva has a tropical climate
with humid and hot conditions from October to March. Average annual precipitation
varies from 2,540 mm (100 inches) to 3,960 mm (156 inches) depending on
the region. Average temperature ranges in Lima are from 13 to 19 degrees
Celsius (55 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit) in August to 19 to 28 degrees Celsius
(66 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit) in February.
PEOPLE: The principal ethnic groups include AmerIndians who account
for 56% of the population, followed by the Mestizos who are of mixed AmerIndian
and Spanish descent and account for 33%, Whites mainly Spanish for 12%
and others for 1%. Other ethnic minority groups include Black Africans,
Arabs, Chinese and Japanese.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 18 persons per sq km (46
persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 71.8% urban, 28.2% rural (1993).
Sex Distribution; 50.4% male, 49.6% female (1990). Life Expectancy at Birth;
61.5 years male, 65.3 years female (1990). Age Breakdown; 37% under 15,
29% 15 to 29, 18% 30 to 44, 10% 45 to 59, 5% 60 to 74, 1% 75 and over (1991).
Birth Rate; 32.8 per 1,000 (1990). Death Rate; 8.3 per 1,000 (1990). Increase
Rate; 24.5 per 1,000 (1990). Infant Mortality Rate; 80.7 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: The official religion is Roman Catholicism which accounts
for 93% of the population while 5.5% are Protestant.
LANGUAGES: The official languages are Spanish, Quechua and Aymara.
With Spanish used for commerce, government and media purposes while Quechua
with its 28 dialects is spoken by the AmerIndians and Mestizos.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
20.1%, incomplete primary 33.2%, primary 21.1%, secondary 20.8%, higher
4.8% (1981). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 87.0% (1988).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1993: In 1945 Jose Luis Bustamente y
Rivero was elected President, although he was ousted by the military led
by Gen. Manuel Odria in 1948. Gen Manuel ruled until 1956 when Manuel Prado,
the country's President from 1939 to 1945, was re-elected. In 1963 Fernando
Belaunde Terry became President and in 1968 the military took control of
the government and established a Junta under Gen. Juan Velasco Alvarado.
The Junta embarked on a nationalization program which ultimately, as a
result of deteriorating economic conditions, led to his replacement with
Gen. Franciso Morales Bermudez who reversed his predecessor's policies
and introduced economic austerity measures. In 1980 a civilian government
under Belaunde was elected and began working to increase private enterprise.
During the early 1980's fighting between the Maoist Shining Path, a guerrilla
group also known as the Sendero Luminoso, and government forces escalated.
In Apr. 1985 Alan Garcia was elected President and during 1989 a State
of Emergency was declared as the threat of civil war loomed. In July 1990
Alberto Fujimori, a second generation Peruvian Japanese, was inaugurated
as President. In 1991 the government pursued its economic and trade liberalization
program and introduced a new currency, the nuevo sol. In May 1991 the Sendero
Luminoso tried and executed an Australian nun and four others in a remote
Andean village. In Sept. 1991 the government obtained US $1.16 billion
in balance of payments support that enabled it to regain eligibility for
further loans with the IMF and settle arrears with the World Bank and the
Inter-American Development Bank. In Nov. 1991 Pres. Fujimori imposed laws
pertaining to economic liberalization and security measures that met with
opposition from the Congress. During 1991 some 2,000 civilians died as
a cholera epidemic swept through the coastal regions of the country. Also
in 1991 some 600 police were dismissed for misconduct following a series
of corruption scandals. On April 5, 1992 Pres. Fujimoro dismissed the Congress,
sacked the judiciary and established a new government claiming the Congress
had blocked his economic program and his efforts to quell guerrilla activities.
In May 1992 some 35 members of the Shinning Path and 2 police officers
were killed as a result of riots at the Miguel Castro prison in Lima following
the attempted removal of female prisoners. In July 1992 a series of terrorist
car bomb attacks occurred that resulted in several casualties and on Sept.
12, 1992 counter-terrorist police arrested the Shinning Path leader, Abimael
Guzman following a raid on a house in the capital. In Oct. 1992 Guzman
was found guilty of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment. Following
his sentencing there were a series of terrorist attacks that left one person
dead and several injured. On Nov. 13, 1992 there was an unsuccessful coup
that resulted in 25 army officers being arrested. Also in 1992 the leader
of the terrorist group Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA), Victor
Polay was arrested. In 1993 a congressional human rights subcommittee found
that the army had been responsible for the murder of nine La Cantuta University
students and a professor in July 1992. In Feb. 1993 the US announced that
it would link financial economic aid to human rights and democracy following
allegations of harassment of human rights groups and poor treatment of
political prisoners. In July 1993 the Democratic Constituent Congress drafted
a new constitution that enabled the President to stand for reelection,
reduced the legislature to a single 120-seat chamber and introduced the
death sentence for convicted terrorists. In the same month the Shining
Path let off a car bomb outside the US embassy in Lima and in Aug. 1993
they murdered 55 Ashaninka AmerIndians in Junin province. On Oct. 31, 1993
a referendum approved the new constitution. Also in 1993 there were many
terrorist bomb attacks and murders by the Shinning Path throughout the
year despite their leaders arrest.
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Nuevo Sol (NS) divided
into 100 Centavos.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $33,973,000,000 (1993).
Public Debt; USD $16,123,000,000 (1993). Imports; USD $3,603,680,000 (1993).
Exports; USD $3,341,280,000 (1993). Tourism Receipts; USD $237,000,000
(1992). Balance of Trade; USD -$1,095,200,000 (1994). Economically Active
Population; 7,109,527 or 31.4% of total population (1993). Unemployed;
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA,
the EU and Japan.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Cattle, Copper, Cotton, Crude Oil, Fish,
Fruit, Iron Ore, Lead, Livestock, Potatoes, Rice, Silver, Sugar Cane, Tungsten,
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Agriculture, Cement, Fishing, Fish Processing,
Leather Goods, Metal Refining, Mining, Oil Production and Refining, Plastics,
MAIN EXPORTS: Coffee, Copper, Cotton, Iron Ore, Lead, Petroleum,
Silver, Sugar, Zinc.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; route length 3,472 km (2,157 mi) (1988),
passenger-km 596,400,000 (370,586,000 passenger-mi) (1988), cargo ton-km
975,000,000 (667,778,000 short ton-mi) (1988). Roads; length 69,942 km
(43,460 mi) (1988). Vehicles; cars 388,045 (1989), trucks and buses 227,353
(1989). Merchant Marine; vessels 617 (1990), deadweight tonnage 806,967
(1990). Air Transport; passenger-km 2,052,000,000 (1,275,000,000 passenger-mi)
(1989), cargo ton-km 108,080,000 (74,024,000 short ton-mi) (1989).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 59 with a total circulation
of 1,590,000 (1992). Radio; receivers 5,300,000 (1994). Television; receivers
2,000,000 (1994). Telephones; units 816,160 (1992).
MILITARY: 115,000 (1994) total active duty personnel with 65.2%
army, 21.7% navy and 13.1% air force while military expenditure accounts
for 1.8% (1993) of the Gross National Product (GNP).
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