Manuel A. Odría

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Manuel A. Odría
OESP
Gral.Manuel A. Odría.jpg
52nd & 53rd President of Peru
In office
28 July 1950 – 28 July 1956
Vice President Héctor Boza
Preceded by Zenón Noriega Agüero
Succeeded by Manuel Prado Ugarteche
In office
1 November 1948 – 1 June 1950
Vice President Zenón Noriega Agüero
Preceded by José Bustamante y Rivero
Succeeded by Zenón Noriega Agüero
Minister of Government and Police
In office
12 January 1947 – 17 June 1948
President José Bustamante y Rivero
Preceded by Rafael Belaúnde Diez-Canseco
Succeeded by Julio César Villegas Carro
Personal details
Born (1896-11-26)November 26, 1896
Tarma, Junín, Peru Peru
Died February 18, 1974(1974-02-18) (aged 77)
Lima, Peru Peru
Nationality Peru (Italian ancestry)
Political party Odriíst National Union
Profession Military officer

Manuel Arturo Odría Amoretti (November 26, 1896 – February 18, 1974) was a military officer who served as the 52nd and 53rd President of Peru, essentially ruling as a military dictator.

Manuel Odría was born in 1896 in Tarma, a city in the central Andes just east of Lima. He graduated first in his class from the Chorillos Military Academy in 1915. He joined the army and as a Lieutenant Colonel was a war hero in the 1941 Ecuadorian-Peruvian war. He soon achieved the rank of Major General.

In 1945, José Bustamante had attained the presidency with the help of the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA). Soon, major disagreements arose between Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, the founder of APRA, and President Bustamante. The President disbanded his Aprista cabinet and replaced it with a mostly military one. Odría, a fierce opponent of APRA, was appointed Minister of Government and Police. In 1948, Odría and other right-wing elements urged Bustamante to ban APRA. When the President refused, Odría resigned his post. On October 27, 1948, he led a successful military coup against the government and took over as president. After two years, he resigned and had one of his colleagues, Zenón Noriega, take office as a puppet president so he could run for president as a civilian. He was duly elected a month later as the only candidate.

Odría came down hard on APRA, momentarily pleasing the oligarchy and all others on the right. Like Juan Perón, he followed a populist course that won him great favor with the poor and lower classes. A thriving economy allowed him to indulge in expensive but crowd-pleasing social policies. At the same time, however, civil rights in the nation were severely restricted and corruption was rampant throughout his régime. People feared that his dictatorship would run indefinitely; they were surprised when Odría legalized opposition parties in 1956 and called fresh elections. He did not run for office. He was succeeded by a former president, Manuel Prado.

When national elections were held again in 1962, Odría ran as a right-wing candidate for the Unión Nacional Odriista party. None of the three major candidates - Odría, Haya de la Torre and Fernando Belaúnde - received the required one third of the vote to win with a plurality. It appeared that Odría would win the Presidency in Congress, after having made a deal with Haya de la Torre, but a military coup removed President Prado from office a few days before his term ended. Elections were held again in 1963, with the same three major candidates. This time Belaúnde won with 39% of the vote.[1]

During the Belaúnde administration, Odría made an alliance with Haya de la Torre to create a single opposition block in Parliament, which became known as the APRA-UNO Coalition. As a political force, they managed to create strong parliamentary opposition to President Belaúnde, who was forced to make important concessions to the Coalition in order to get most of his party-sponsored legislation enacted. The Coalition suffered a setback after losing the elections for mayor in the capital, Lima.

After the military coup that overthrew Belaúnde in 1968, Odría kept a low profile in Peruvian politics until his death in 1974.

Descendants Currently Active in Peruvian Politics[edit]

Enrique Odría Sotomayor [2]

Notes[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
José Bustamante
President of Peru
1948–1950
Succeeded by
Zenón Noriega
Preceded by
Zenón Noriega
President of Peru
1950–1956
Succeeded by
Manuel Prado