Position: President of Peru
Incumbent: Ollanta Humala
Date of Birth: June 26, 1962
Term: Elected in June for a five-year term, Humala took office on July 28, 2011.
- Humala, a career army officer, defeated four experienced politicians after promising to respect democracy and spread the benefits of a decade-long economic boom to the rural poor. Peru is one of the region’s fastest expanding economies, but growth has left one in three Peruvians in poverty.
- When he made his first presidential bid in 2006, Humala sympathized with Venezuela’s now-deceased socialist President Hugo Chavez. He reinvented himself as a moderate leftist after losing and was compared to Brazil’s former leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
- Since taking office, Humala has moved even farther to the right than Lula ever did, pleasing investors.
- He has tried to strike a balance between protecting the $50 billion pipeline in mining investments for the next decade and passing reforms to discourage pollution and give communities more say in projects that affect them.
- Humala has twice reshuffled his Cabinet to try to calm a wave of protests against mining projects. He has cracked down on demonstrations but put the country’s biggest potential mining investment on hold in 2012 after protests turned deadly and a poll showed broad local opposition to the project.
- His approval rating has shown him to be the most popular Peruvian president in years, in large part because of his emphasis on social programs for the poor. His charismatic wife, Nadine Heredia, has helped promote his administration and is widely viewed as having a bright political future herself.
- Humala comes from a family of prominent radicals. His brother, Antauro, led a failed uprising in 2005 and his father is a central figure in an ethnic movement that seeks to reclaim Peru’s Incan glory by spurning foreign interests and turning its back on the global economy.
- He attended a military academy in Lima and has a master’s degree in political science from Lima’s Pontifical Catholic University. As an army officer, he spent time in Paris and Seoul.