Javier Pérez de Cuéllar

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Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar.JPG
Pérez de Cuéllar in 2008
5th Secretary-General of the United Nations
In office
January 1, 1982 – December 31, 1991
Preceded byKurt Waldheim
Succeeded byBoutros Boutros-Ghali
135th Prime Minister of Peru
In office
November 22, 2000 – July 28, 2001
PresidentValentín Paniagua
Preceded byFederico Salas
Succeeded byRoberto Dañino Zapata
Personal details
Javier Felipe Ricardo Pérez de Cuéllar de la Guerra

(1920-01-19) January 19, 1920 (age 99)
Lima, Peru
Spouse(s)Yvette Roberts (1922–2013)
Marcela Temple Seminario (1933–2013)

Javier Felipe Ricardo Pérez de Cuéllar de la Guerra KCMG (/ˈpɛrɛs də ˈkwjɑː/;[1] Spanish: [xaˈβjeɾ ˈperez ðe ˈkweʝaɾ]; born January 19, 1920)[2][3] is a Peruvian diplomat who served as the fifth Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1, 1982 to December 31, 1991. He ran unsuccessfully against Alberto Fujimori for President of Peru in 1995 and following Fujimori's resignation over corruption charges, he was Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs from November 2000 until July 2001. In September 2004, he stepped down from his position as Peru's Ambassador to France, where he formerly resided. He is also a member of the Club de Madrid, a group of more than 100 former Presidents and Prime Ministers of democratic countries, which works to strengthen democracy worldwide.[4] At the age of 99 years, 319 days, Pérez de Cuéllar is currently both the oldest living former Peruvian prime minister and Secretary General of the United Nations.


Early years[edit]

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar was born on January 19, 1920 in Lima. He studied in Colegio San Agustín of Lima, and then at Pontifical Catholic University of Peru.

Diplomatic career[edit]

Pérez de Cuéllar joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1940 and the diplomatic service in 1944, serving subsequently as Secretary at Peru's embassy in France, where he met and married his first wife, Yvette Roberts (died Lisbon, 2013). He also held posts in the United Kingdom, Bolivia, and Brazil, and later served as ambassador to Switzerland, the Soviet Union, Poland, and Venezuela. From his first marriage, he has a son, Francisco, born in Paris, and a daughter, Águeda Cristina, born in London.

He was a junior member of the Peruvian delegation to the first session of the General Assembly, which convened in London in 1946, and a member of the delegations to the 25th through 30th sessions of the Assembly. In 1971, he was appointed permanent representative of Peru to the United Nations, and he led his country's delegation to all sessions of the Assembly from then until 1975.

In 1973 and 1974, he represented his country in the Security Council, serving as its President at the time of the events in Cyprus in July 1974. On September 18, 1975, he was appointed Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Cyprus – a post he held until December 1977, when he rejoined the Peruvian Foreign Service. On 29 October 1975, in Cyprus, Mr. Pérez de Cuéllar married his second wife, the former Marcela Temple Seminario (14 August 1933,[5] – 3 July 2013)[6][7] with whom he had no children.

On February 27, 1979, he was appointed as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Special Political Affairs. From April 1981, while still holding this post, he acted as the Secretary-General's Personal Representative on the situation relating to Afghanistan. In that capacity, he visited Pakistan and Afghanistan in April and August of that year in order to continue the negotiations initiated by the Secretary-General some months earlier.

United Nations Secretary-General[edit]

Pérez de Cuéllar and President of Iran Ali Khamenei, 13 September 1987, Tehran

On December 31, 1981, Pérez de Cuéllar succeeded Kurt Waldheim as Secretary-General and was re-elected for a second term in October 1986. During his two terms, he led mediations between Britain and Argentina in the aftermath of the Falklands War and promoted the efforts of the Contadora Group to bring peace and stability to Central America. He also interceded in the negotiations for the independence of Namibia, the conflict in Western Sahara between Morocco and the Polisario Front, the war between Croatian forces seeking independence and the Yugoslav federal as well as local Serb forces, and the Cyprus issue. He also presided in 1986 an international arbitration committee that ruled [8] on the Rainbow Warrior incident between New Zealand and France. In 1983 he initiated the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in order to unite countries to pursue sustainable development.

Shortly before the end of his second term, he rejected an unofficial request by members of the Security Council to reconsider his earlier decision not to run for a third term, shortened to two years, as a search for his successor had not, as of then, yielded a consensus candidate. A candidate was found in late December 1991, and his second term as Secretary-General concluded, as scheduled, on December 31, 1991.

Later life[edit]

Pérez de Cuéllar, with Peru Foreign Minister José García Belaúnde, 9 August 2010

On July 22, 2005, Pérez de Cuéllar suffered a heart attack and was admitted to a hospital in Paris, he was released on July 30. On June 19, 2017, with a lifespan of 35,581 days he surpassed Alfredo Solf y Muro (1872–1969) in terms of longevity and is now the oldest former Prime Minister in Peru's history. On 24 October 2018, it was reported that he died. The report was later denied.[9]


Pérez de Cuéllar was portrayed by Arturo Venegas in the 2002 BBC production of Ian Curteis's controversial The Falklands Play.

On August 30, 2017, as a follow up to the Black Swan Project, Spanish naval authorities salvaged the artillary remains of the frigate Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes which had sank in 1804 and two of whose bronze cannons, weighing between 2 and 3 tonnes each, had been cast in Lima by Sevilian smelter Bernardino de Tejeda. Two of Tejeda's direct descendants and the members of the 1942 team in charge of the restoration of his sepulchral crypt were the future Peruvian Ambassadors Carlos Pérez Cánepa Jimenez and Pérez de Cuéllar, then 24 and 22 years old.[citation needed]

Honours and awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Pérez de Cuéllar". Collins English Dictionary.
  2. ^ In isolation, Pérez is pronounced [ˈperes].
  3. ^ Profile of Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
  4. ^ "Former Heads of State and Government | Club de Madrid". Clubmadrid.org. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  5. ^ "Who's who in France". J. Lafitte. February 9, 2019 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ PERÚ21, Redacción (July 3, 2013). "Falleció Marcela Temple, esposa de Javier Pérez de Cuéllar". Peru21.
  7. ^ "Family tree of Marcela Temple Seminario". Geneanet.
  8. ^ http://www.iilj.org/courses/documents/RainbowWarrior.pdf
  9. ^ PERÚ21, Redacción (October 24, 2018). "Desmienten muerte de Javier Pérez de Cuéllar". Peru21.
  10. ^ Four Freedoms Award#Freedom Medal
  11. ^ http://www.archiviodisarmo.it/images/pdf/list.pdf
  12. ^ "Inter-American Dialogue | Javier Pérez de Cuéllar". www.thedialogue.org. Retrieved April 13, 2017.


External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Austria Kurt Waldheim
United Nations United Nations Secretary-General
Succeeded by
Egypt Boutros Boutros-Ghali
Political offices
Preceded by
Federico Salas
Prime Minister of Peru
Succeeded by
Roberto Dañino Zapata