Manuel Prado Ugarteche

Manuel Carlos Prado y Ugarteche (April 21, 1889 – August 15, 1967) was a banker who served twice as President of Peru. Son of former president Mariano Ignacio Prado, he was born in Lima and served as the nation's 43rd (1939 - 1945) and 46th (1956 - 1962) President. His brother, Leoncio Prado Gutiérrez, was a military hero who died in 1883, six years before Manuel Prado was born.

Manuel Prado
Manuel Prado Ugarteche 1961.jpg
43rd and 46th President of Peru
In office
July 28, 1956 – July 18, 1962
Vice PresidentLuis Gallo Porras
Carlos Moreyra y Paz Soldán
Preceded byManuel A. Odría
Succeeded byRicardo Pérez Godoy
In office
December 8, 1939 – July 28, 1945
Vice PresidentRafael Larco Herrera
Carlos D. Gibson
Preceded byOscar R. Benavides
Succeeded byJosé Bustamante y Rivero
Personal details
Born(1889-04-21)April 21, 1889
Lima, Peru
DiedAugust 15, 1967(1967-08-15) (aged 78)
Paris, France
Cause of deathMyocardial infarction[1]
Political partyPradist Democratic Movement
Spouse(s)Enriqueta Garland Higginson
Clorinda Málaga de Prado
Parent(s)Mariano Ignacio Prado
María Magdalena Ugarteche Gutiérrez de Cossío

Prado was born in April 1889 as the son of Mariano Ignacio Prado. He went to college and became a banker. In 1915, Prado, along with General Benavides, overthrew Guillermo Billinghurst and his government during the First World War, in which Peru remained neutral. Benavides became the president of the Junta. Later imprisoned, he was deported to Chile and went into exile in France. He returned in 1932, and upon his return he was chairman of the board of the Peruvian Vapores Company and general manager and president of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru, which he served from 1934 to 1939. He ran and won the 1939 elections. Under his first administration, Peru came out victorious against Ecuador in the Ecuadorian-Peruvian War, and also became the first country in South America to break relations with the Axis, as Peru declared war on the Axis. After the end of his administration in 1945, he went to Paris, and eventually came back. He defeated Belaunde in the elections in 1956, as his second administration came to power. He sided with the United States in the Cold War, but was deposed in a coup, led by Ricardo Perez Godoy in 1962. He went into exile for one last time to Paris, where he died in 1967.


Birth and early yearsEdit

From an aristocratic family, he was the son of Peruvian President Mariano Ignacio Prado, and María Magdalena Ugarteche Gutiérrez de Cossío. His father left Peru in the midst of the War with Chile, and was deposed by the coup d'état of Nicolás de Piérola (1879), without being able to make the purchase of weapons in Europe, the reason for his journey, being forced to stay abroad. His paternal brother, Leoncio Prado, was a hero of this conflict and was shot by the Chileans in 1883. Other brothers of his were: Mariano,lawyer and businessman; Javier, intellectual and political; and Jorge,also a politician.

Manuel studied at the College of the Immaculate and pursued higher studies at the Faculties of Sciences and Political Sciences of the University of San Marcos,where he received a bachelor's degree in 1907 with his thesis on "The Hydrostatic Pressure Centers", and as a doctor in 1910 with the thesis "Essay on the rainfall regime of Lima". He also studied at the National School of Engineers (now the National University of Engineering),graduating as a Civil Engineer in 1911.

Elected by students from the National School of Engineers and the Faculty of Sciences of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, he was part of the delegation of Peruvian students that attended the First Congress of American Students Montevideo from January 26 to February 2, 1908. As a university student he followed the military instruction required by the regulation achieving the degree of sergeant and then that of cavalry ensign in a course organized by the French Military Mission in Chorrillos. With this degree he joined the army and was mobilized to Lambayeque,when the threat of war with Ecuador in 1910.

Incorporated into university teaching he was in charge, at the Faculty of Sciences of San Marcos, the infinitesimal Analysis course, first as an adjunct professor(1912)and then as a full professor(1918).

From a very young age he became a member of the Civil Party. He supported, together with his brothers Javier and Jorge, General Oscar R. Benavides in the coup against President Guillermo Billinghurst,which took place on February 4, 1914; and was present at the assault on the Government Palace, a participation that earned him his promotion to lieutenant. On January 19 of that same year he had married Enriqueta Garland Higginson, six years his senior, with which he had two children: Rosa and Manuel Prado Garland.

In 1915 he was elected a member of the Municipal Council of Lima during the administration of Mayor Pedro de Osma. In the Council he was an inspector of Works and as such designed some of the plans of the urban reordering of the city.

As a young army officer, Prado was a key player in the coup that overthrew President Guillermo Billinghurst in 1914. He became president of the Central Reserve Bank in 1934 and served until 1939.[2]

He assumed the presidency of the Associated Electric Companies. In 1919, when President Augusto B. Leguía began his eleventhcentury, Serrano was elected deputy for huamachuco province for that year's National Assembly which was intended to issue the 1920 Constitution2. He then remained an ordinary senator until 19243. From Congress he began a tenacious opposition to the re-election politics of President Augusto B. Leguía, so he had to be imprisoned in 1921,along with other civilists, and deported to Chile. From Chile he went into exile to France, where he remained until 1932. On his return he was chairman of the board of the Peruvian Vapores Company and general manager and president of the Central Reserve Bank of Peru,which he served from 1934 to 1939.

1939 electionEdit

For the 1939 general election,President Oscar R. Benavides chose Prado as his presidential candidate. Against this official candidacy, José Quesada Larrea, a young lawyer, a native of Trujillo, Peru,who for his campaign acquired the newspaper La Prensa,from where he fought for electoral freedom, for the obvious purpose of the government to manipulate the results.

The APRA party, which was the most important party in the country, was outlawed. Another important political force, the Sanchecerrista Revolutionary Union, was also annulled when its leader, Luis A. Flores, was banished. At the electoral juncture, both Prado and Quesada requested the support of the apristas(Members and supporters of the APRA) but they decided not to take sides. Prado ran as a candidate for a concentration of small parties.

Before the election, the government shut down La Prensa. When the counts were made, Prado appeared as the victor, with enormous advantage. There was talk of mass fraud

First government (1939 - 1945)Edit

Manuel Prado assumed the presidency on December 8, 1939. Politician until then almost unknown, he predicted that he would not last long in office, but deployed a combination of tactical cunning, strategic flexibility and personal charm that made him one of Peru's most effective politicians of the 20th century. His government largely continued the work done by General Benavides and was of relative democracy. It suffered the consequences of the Second World War, which had a strong impact on trade. Imports fell sharply but export products such as sugar, cotton, metals and rubber increased. The shortage of import products for domestic consumption brought about new industries that successfully replaced foreign products. The war made numerous "new rich" appear.

In the international order, Prado had two notable successes:

The first was the victorious war against Ecuador and the subscription of the Rio de Janeiro Protocol guaranteed by the United States, Brazil, Chile and Argentina,which sought to settle the old boundary lawsuit that for more than a century had kept the attention of the Peruvian chancellery. The problem would be revived again some time later, following Ecuador's disrecognise of the Protocol. The second was the policy of continental solidarity and support for the United States and democracies faced by axis powers (Germany, Italy and Japan),during World War II. Peru was the first country in Latin America to break relations with the Axis powers, and during an extraordinary meeting of chancellors held in Rio de Janeiro in early 1942, it was the Peruvian attitude that inclined representatives of other American countries to support the United States. This pro-Americanism brought with it some excesses, such as allowing the United States to set up an air base in Talara (northern Peru), and the mass deportation of German and Japanese residents into confinement camps. In the domestic order, despite being considered a democratic government, Prado kept the Aprista Party outlawed; only in the last year of his government, on the occasion of the general election, he legalized the participation of APRA, which on that occasion was part of the National Democratic Front under the name "People's Party". In contrast, many communists supported Prado, following the international context, as the Soviet Union belonged to the Allied bloc.

Important works and factsEdit

In addition to the victorious war against Ecuador, with the subsequent signing of the Rio de Janeiro Protocol, as well as support for Western democracies in World War II, the following works were carried out in Prado's first government:

  • An "import substitution" policy was planned in the face of a shortage of imported products because of world war. In this sense, significant progress was made in the country's industrialization process.
  • The Peruvian Amazon Corporation was founded to boost the rubber industry,in the face of its demand for world war.
  • The Peruvian Commercial Aviation Corporation(CORPAC),responsible for the proper functioning of airports, was created. For this purpose, Limatambo Airport was opened.
  • The agreement with the United States for agricultural development was signed through the intervention of the Inter-American Cooperative
  • Food Production Service (SCIPA).
  • The asphalt of the Peruvian stretch of the Pan American Highway was completed.
  • The Central Road to Aguaytia and Pucallpa was completed, in themiddle of the jungle.
  • The department of Tumbes (Law No. 9667 of 25 November 1942)and the department of Pasco (Law No. 10.030 of 27 November 1944) were created.
  • The 1940 General Census was held, which yielded a population of 6,207,966. Some 577,000 inhabitants were concentrated in Lima.
  • The organic Law on Public Education was given accompanied by an aggressive national literacy plan, in the face of the large number of illiterate people that the census unveiled (1943).
  • It gave access to technical education, with the best implementation and equipment of art schools and crafts.
  • The Worker's Hospital (present-day Guillermo Almenara Hospital) was inaugurated.
  • The Worker's Hospital of Huacho (present-day Gustavo Lanatta Luján Hospital) was inaugurated.
  • The Maternity Hospital of Lima was inaugurated.
  • Mass vaccination campaigns began.
  • The fourth Working Quarter was built on the Rimac.
  • The Yavarí District was created in the Mariscal Ramón Castilla Province in the Department of Loreto
  • The boost to tourism continued.
  • Popular canteens were created, which subsisted efficiently for several decades.
  • In this period there were two misfortunes of magnitude: the Lima and Callao Earthquake of May 24, 1940,and the fire of the National Library of Peru that occurred on May 11, 1943. The reconstruction of the latter was commissioned by the historian Jorge Basadre.

Called the 1945 general election, Prado sponsored the candidacy of General Eloy Ureta,the victor in the war against Ecuador in 1941. But the most popular candidacy was that of the jurist José Luis Bustamante y Rivero,representing a front or alliance of parties including the APRA: the National Democratic Front,which proved triumphant.

After his tenure, Prado traveled and settled in Paris where he owned a residence on the elegant Avenida Foch.

His government's position on the Jewish HolocaustEdit

Faced with the systematic extermination of millions of Jews in Europe, Manuel Prado Ugarteche, through his Chancellor Dr. Alfredo Solf de Muro, implemented a strict policy of denying visas to Jews who asked for entry to Peru, even though they desperately sought to escape certain death.

Very notorious is the case of "the negative response of the Prado government to the request of the "WorldJewishCongress" so that Peru, like many countries in the world, would agree to admit Jewish children orphaned by war that were to be maintained and educated on 20 Jews residing in Peru. The Peruvian government, through Chancellor Dr. Solf and Muro, rejected in 1944 the request to admit 200 Jewish children aged 4 to 10 who later were murdered at Auschwitz.

Another case that exemplifies his position is that of Peruvian diplomat José María Barreto, who worked for the Peruvian embassy in Switzerland during the Holocaust. Mr. Barreto was moved by Nazi brutality against the Jews, and decided in contempt to issue Peruvian passports to save 58 Jews (including 14 children). The Peruvian chancellery nulled her passports upon learning, closed the embassy in Geneva, and fired José María Barreto, ruining his political career.

During Prado's second presidency (1956–1962), the only significant proscribed party was the APRA (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance), which was thrown out of power and outlawed in 1948 by President Manuel Odría. Prado announced that he would submit to the newly elected Congress a bill to legalize APRA once again. The bill was later passed and the APRA's famed founder, Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, returned from foreign exile.

Foreign Policy of First GovernmentEdit

In foreign policy, Prado – whose greatest pride was that as President in 1942 he made Peru the first of the South American nations to break off relations with the Axis Powers– was expected to side firmly with the U.S. There is documentary evidence that shows that Prado's enthusiastic support of the deportation of Peruvians of Japanese descent to the United States during World War II was motivated by a desire to rid Peru of all of its Japanese-descended residents—a charge which some historians have argued amounted to a campaign of ethnic cleansing.[3]

Second Government (1956-1962)Edit

The elections were held on June 17, 1956. The official results were as follows: Manuel Prado Ugarteche, 568,134 votes (45.5%); Fernando Belaunde Terry, 457,638 votes (36.7%) and Hernando de Lavalle, 222,323 votes (17.8%).

Prado with John F Kennedy in September 1961

During Prado's second presidency (1956–1962), the only significant proscribed party was the APRA (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance), which was thrown out of power and outlawed in 1948 by President Manuel Odría. Prado announced that he would submit to the newly elected Congress a bill to legalize APRA once again. The bill was later passed and the APRA's famed founder, Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, returned from foreign exile.

This government developed in a climate of turmoil motivated by the economic crisis that presented itself with increasingly alarming characteristics; because of the turmoil that arose in the countryside in favor of the realization of land reform and a vigorous campaign of national scope for the recovery of the oil fields of La Brea and Pariñas that illegally continued to operate the American company International Petroleum Company. The leadership of the opposition was assumed by the architect Belaunde, who organized a new mass party: People's Action,which was preparing for the next general election, where he would have prominence. The newspapers El Comercio y La Prensa also made opposition, which could not counter La Crónica,a newspaper owned by the Prado family, because it was more oriented to sports and police issues. In the economic order, the biggest problem was budgetary in nature, which had as its origin the recession produced in the United States in 1957. Export products were significantly depreciated and dollars were scarce, so the Peruvian currency was devalued. Pedro G. Beltrán,the director of the newspaper La Prensa,then went on to support the government (1959) was appointed as Minister of Finance and President of the Council of Ministers. The mission was to put finance in order, balance the budget and stabilize the currency, which was achieved, not without first adopting anti-popular measures such as rising gasoline,cutting food subsidies and increasing the tax burden. It was a liberal policy.

In those years the migrations of the mountains developed a lot and the slums around Lima increased, to the point of talking about the "belt of misery" that was beginning to surround the capital. Overall, Prado did not do much to improve the situation and condition of the national majority that continued to live in terrible conditions.

As the end of government approached, popular discontent was undeniable. The strikes were slashed and boisterous and even violent protests were made in the streets. In addition to economic policy, the president's own personality, pompous and frivolous in difficult times, was criticized.

On a personal level, Prado managed in 1958 for the Catholic Church to annul his marriage to Enriqueta Garland to marry the Limeña lady Clorinda Málaga, which caused little scandal among the conservative sector of Limegna society. In 1961 he was the first foreign head of state to visit Japan after World War II

Important works and factsEdit

The main facts of this government include:

  • The Industrial Promotion Act was given, which promoted the country's still fledgling industrial development.
  • The National Fund for Economic Development was created in each department for the execution of public works as a manifestation of administrative decentralization.
  • A steel plant was installed in the port of Chimbote,with which the country intended to emulate the industrialization efforts of other Latin American nations. Chimbote was also already the most important fishing port and its explosive growth was one of the most jumping social phenomena of that time.
  • He began taking off from the fishmeal industry,until he made Peru the first fishing power on the planet, a credit that was due to the talented Peruvian businessman Luis Banchero Rossi.
  • Peru's strong rights defense was made in the face of Ecuador's campaign in America to ignore the Rio de Janeiro Protocol of 1942.
  • Faced with the peasant demand for land reform, Prado limited himself to the creation of an Institute of Agrarian Reform and Colonization (IRAC), with the "immediate purpose of studying, proposing and, where possible, implementing the necessary measures to increase the cultivated area by colonizing the forest, spreading small and medium-sized property and preferentially seeking the establishment of family farms" , whose studies were resumed by the following governments.
  • The new BAP cruisers Almirante Grau and BAP Coronel Bolognesi were acquired and came to replace the first cruisers of similar names that had been acquired 50 years ago, in the first government of José Pardo and Barreda. They would provide services until the early 1980s.
  • The creation of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces,an institution that groups the commandos of the three defensive weapons of the Republic: Army, Navy and Aviation.
  • The reform of secondary education being divided into Letters and Sciences from the fourth year. Technical secondary education was improved but primary education was neglected.
  • Diplomatic relations with Cuba were broken after the triumph of the Communist Revolution and its orientation towards the Soviet bloc.
  • Peru's integration into the Alliance for Progress that then-U.S. President John F. Kennedy led to as a means of developing Latin America.
  • An agreement was signed with Bolivia for the use of the waters of Lake Titicaca for irrigation works in areas surrounding and common to both countries.
  • During the summer of 1958-59 the Puno Region was the scene of a disastrous drought that devastated the population. For this purpose, the 'Southern Plan' was developed to revitalize this area.
  • Television was established in Peru, armed by the Industrial Promotion Act (1958). Soon after, the first television stations emerged.

Deposition from powerEdit

At the end of his government Prado called for elections, with the main candidates being the following:

The elections were held on June 10, 1962. At the end of the count no candidate had obtained the one-third of the votes as required by the Political Constitution at the time, necessitating that Congress choose among those who had obtained the most votes, which were the three mentioned above. The situation required a pact between at least two of these three main opponents. Unusually for some, the pact was made between the two staunch enemies, Hague and Odría, remembering that the latter would assume the presidency of the republic. But the government was accused of having committed fraud in some departments, so the Joint Command of the Armed Forces presided over by General Ricardo Pérez Godoy demanded that the government annul the elections.

On July 18, 1962, the guard of the Government Palace was absent and at 3:20 a.m., an armored division commanded by Colonel Gonzalo Briceño Zevallos stormed the palace and arrested the president and his companions, who foresaw a possible coup d'état.

On the same day he was transported to Callao's naval arsenal and embarked on the Callao BAP (anchored on San Lorenzo Island) where he was detained until the end of his term on July 28. On August 1 he voluntarily left the country and settled in Paris.

A military governing board was formed that overturned the elections and convened new ones. It has been said that the real motive of this institutional coup of the Armed Forces was the anti-aprism still deeply rooted among the military, who did not want the APRA to rule, even in co-government.

Later lifeEdit

Prado left Peru and settled again in Paris. He made a brief visit to his homeland as he commemorated the centenary of the Battle of Callao (May 2, 1966), when he was paid a tribute for being the son of President Mariano Ignacio Prado, who drove to Peru during the last stage of the conflict with Spain in 1865–66. He died in the French capital the following year. He was buried in the Presbítero Maestro Cemetery, next to his father.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "PRADO DIES AT 78; PERUVIAN LEADER; Twice President, He Was Ousted by Junta in 1962". The New York Times. 15 August 1967.
  2. ^ Historial de autoridades del Banco Central de Reserva del Perú desde 1922 Banco Central de Reserva del Perú
  3. ^ Varner, Natasha. "The plight of Japanese Peruvians in America". The Week. The Week Publications, Inc. (1–13–2019).
Political offices
Preceded by President of Peru
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of Peru
Succeeded by