Ancient Peru was the seat of several prominent Andean civilizations, most notably that of the Incas whose empire was captured by the Spanish conquistadors in 1533. Peruvian independence was declared in 1821, and remaining Spanish forces defeated in 1824. After a dozen years of military rule, Peru returned to democratic leadership in 1980, but experienced economic problems and the growth of a violent insurgency. President Alberto FUJIMORI's election in 1990 ushered in a decade that saw a dramatic turnaround in the economy and significant progress in curtailing guerrilla activity. Nevertheless, the president's increasing reliance on authoritarian measures and an economic slump in the late 1990s generated mounting dissatisfaction with his regime, which led to his ouster in 2000. A caretaker government oversaw new elections in the spring of 2001, which ushered in Alejandro TOLEDO as the new head of government - Peru's first democratically elected president of Native American ethnicity. The presidential election of 2006 saw the return of Alan GARCIA who, after a disappointing presidential term from 1985 to 1990, returned to the presidency with promises to improve social conditions and maintain fiscal responsibility.
deforestation (some the result of illegal logging); overgrazing of the slopes of the costa and sierra leading to soil erosion; desertification; air pollution in Lima; pollution of rivers and coastal waters from municipal and mining wastes
degree of risk: very high food or waterborne diseases: bacterial, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever vectorborne disease: dengue fever, malaria, Oroya fever, and yellow fever water contact disease: leptospirosis (2008)
chief of state: President Alan GARCIA Perez (since 28 July 2006); First Vice President Luis GIAMPIETRI Rojas; Second Vice President Lourdes MENDOZA del Solar (since 28 July 2006); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Alan GARCIA Perez (since 28 July 2006); First Vice President Luis GIAMPIETRI Rojas; Second Vice President Lourdes MENDOZA del Solar (since 28 July 2006) note: Prime Minister Jorge DEL CASTILLO Galvez (since 28 August 2006) does not exercise executive power; this power is in the hands of the president cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a nonconsecutive reelection); presidential and congressional elections held 9 April 2006 with runoff election held 4 June 2006; next to be held in April 2011 election results: Alan GARCIA elected president in runoff election; percent of vote - Alan GARCIA 52.5%, Ollanta HUMALA Tasso 47.5%
unicameral Congress of the Republic of Peru or Congreso de la Republica del Peru (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: last held 9 April 2006 (next to be held in April 2011) election results: percent of vote by party - UPP 21.2%, PAP 20.6%, UN 15.3%, AF 13.1%, FC 7.1%, PP 4.1%, RN 4.0%, other 14.6%; seats by party - UPP 45, PAP 36, UN 17, AF 13, FC 5, PP 2, RN 2
Alliance For Progress (Alianza Para El Progreso) [Cesar ACUNA Peralta]; Alliance For The Future (Alianza Por El Futuro) or AF (a coalition of pro-FUJIMORI parties including Cambio 90, Nueva Mayoria, and Si Cumple); Centrist Front (Frente Del Centro) or FC (a coalition of Accion Popular, Somos Peru, and Coordinadora Nacional de Independientes); Independent Moralizing Front (Frente Independiente Moralizador) or FIM; National Renovation Party (Partido Renovacion Nacional) [Rafael REY]; National Restoration (Restauracion Nacional) or RN [Humberto LAY Sun]; National Unity (Unidad Nacional) or UN (a coalition of Partido Popular Cristiano and Partido Solidaridad Nacional) [Lourdes FLORES Nano]; Peru Possible (Peru Posible) or PP [Alejandro TOLEDO Manrique]; Peruvian Aprista Party (Partido Aprista Peruano) or PAP [Alan GARCIA] (also referred to by its original name Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana or APRA); Peruvian Nationalist Party (Partido Nacionalista Peruano) or PNP [Ollanta HUMALA Tasso]; Union for Peru (Union por el Peru) or UPP [Aldo ESTRADA Choque]
leftist guerrilla groups include Shining Path [Abimael GUZMAN Reynoso (imprisoned), Gabriel MACARIO (top leader at-large)]; Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement or MRTA [Victor POLAY (imprisoned), Hugo AVALLENEDA Valdez (top leader at-large)]
chief of mission: Ambassador Felipe ORTIZ de Zevallos chancery: 1700 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036 telephone:  (202) 833-9860 through 9869 FAX:  (202) 659-8124 consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paterson (New Jersey), San Francisco, Washington, DC
chief of mission: Ambassador J. Curtis STRUBLE embassy: Avenida La Encalada, Cuadra 17s/n, Surco, Lima 33 mailing address: P. O. Box 1995, Lima 1; American Embassy (Lima), APO AA 34031-5000 telephone:  (1) 434-3000 FAX:  (1) 618-2397
three equal, vertical bands of red (hoist side), white, and red with the coat of arms centered in the white band; the coat of arms features a shield bearing a vicuna, cinchona tree (the source of quinine), and a yellow cornucopia spilling out gold coins, all framed by a green wreath
Peru's economy reflects its varied geography - an arid coastal region, the Andes further inland, and tropical lands bordering Colombia and Brazil. Abundant mineral resources are found in the mountainous areas, and Peru's coastal waters provide excellent fishing grounds. However, overdependence on minerals and metals subjects the economy to fluctuations in world prices, and a lack of infrastructure deters trade and investment. After several years of inconsistent economic performance, the Peruvian economy grew by more than 4% per year during the period 2002-06, with a stable exchange rate and low inflation. Growth jumped to 7.5% in 2007, driven by higher world prices for minerals and metals. Risk premiums on Peruvian bonds on secondary markets reached historically low levels in late 2004, reflecting investor optimism regarding the government's prudent fiscal policies and openness to trade and investment. Despite the strong macroeconomic performance, underemployment and poverty have stayed persistently high. Growth prospects depend on exports of minerals, textiles, and agricultural products, and by expectations for the Camisea natural gas megaproject and for other promising energy projects. Upon taking office, President GARCIA announced Sierra Exportadora, a program aimed at promoting economic growth in Peru's southern and central highlands.
general assessment: adequate for most requirements domestic: fixed-line teledensity is only about 8 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular teledensity, spurred by competition among multiple providers, has increased to about 30 telephones per 100 persons; nationwide microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 12 earth stations international: country code - 51; the South America-1 (SAM-1) and Pan American (PAN-AM) submarine cable systems provide links to parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Chile and Ecuador rejected Peru's November 2005 unilateral legislation to shift the axis of their joint treaty-defined maritime boundaries along the parallels of latitude to equidistance lines which favor Peru; organized illegal narcotics operations in Colombia have penetrated Peru's shared border; Peru rejects Bolivia's claim to restore maritime access through a sovereign corridor through Chile along the Peruvian border
until 1996 the world's largest coca leaf producer, Peru is now the world's second largest producer of coca leaf, though it lags far behind Colombia; cultivation of coca in Peru rose 25% to 34,000 hectares in 2005; much of the cocaine base is shipped to neighboring Colombia for processing into cocaine, while finished cocaine is shipped out from Pacific ports to the international drug market; increasing amounts of base and finished cocaine, however, are being moved to Brazil and Bolivia for use in the Southern Cone or transshipped to Europe and Africa