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The War on Terror: Lessons from Peru to be next colloquium topic

Peru's ruling political party, its history, and its relevance to today's war on terror will be discussed in the next New Mexico State University College of Arts and Sciences colloquium on "Rethinking Terrorism."



Dr. Iñigo García-Bryce, assistant professor of history, New Mexico State University (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

n Insurgency and Democracy in Peru" will begin at 4 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 26, in Room 107 of the Science Hall.

Iñigo García-Bryce, an assistant professor of history, will show how studying Peru's American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) can help us better understand current events in the Middle East.

Founded in 1924 by Victor Raúl Haya de la Torre, APRA was labeled a "terrorist organization" in the 1930s and 1940s, García-Bryce said. The party used both insurgency and democracy as a means of gaining power and bringing about a series of reforms the party felt would create a more just Peruvian society. García-Bryce called de la Torre "one of the most important Latin American political figures in the 20th century" because his ideas influenced Peru and much of Latin America.



"De la Torre formulated a set of ideas that very deliberately tried to create a theory of revolution for Latin America," García-Bryce said. "He said that Latin America should base its revolution on its own realities, rather than on the realities of other parts of the world. That's what makes his theory interesting and quite current today."

APRA's ideology has changed somewhat over the years, he said, noting that its initial stance was overtly anti-American. The party was interested in bringing development to Latin America, but felt that U.S. involvement in that part of the world impeded its efforts. Over time, a gradual shift in party ideology moved APRA to the center left of the political spectrum. The U.S. wanted APRA and its presidential candidate, Alan García Pérez, to win this year's elections and got its wish in June when a more radical candidate was defeated, García-Bryce said. Even so, he said the U.S. should pay more attention to Latin America.

"There isn't the level of engagement with Latin America that you would expect, given the degree of interrelation that exists economically and politically, and given the proximity of the region to the United States," García-Bryce said. Lessons learned from Peru may be applied to the Middle East, he said.

"It's interesting to see how we could perhaps envision a future in which groups like Hamas and Hezbollah would be willing to leave the armed struggle and participate in a system of political parties," García-Bryce said. "That has happened in a number of places in Latin America, not just Peru. To not analyze that and to not think about that is to not learn the lessons of history."

Other presentations scheduled for this fall semester are:

"Counterterrorism and U.S. Border Security Policy," Jason Ackleson, Department of Government, Oct. 17
"Strategic Communication and Counterterrorism," Ken Hacker, Department of Communication Studies, Oct. 24
"Religious Justification for Violence in America," Keith Akins, Department of Criminal Justice, Oct. 31