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Luis Miguel Sanchez Cerro

Luis Miguel Sanchez Cerro was a high-ranking Peruvian army officer and President of Peru from 1931 to 1933. On August 22, 1930, as a lieutenant-colonel, he overturned the eleven-year dictatorship of Augusto B. Leguia after a coup d'etat in Arequipa.

Following Leguia's resignation, Manuel Ponce was interim president until Sanchez was chosen on August 27. The new president flew to Lima and himself served as provisional president until the military with whom he had effected the coup forced him into exile after six months in office.

Birth Place

Luis Miguel Sanchez Cerro was born in Piura on August 12th, 1889 to Don Antonio Sanchez and Dona Rosa Cerro. He was the first Peruvian president to have Indigenous Peruvian ancestry as well as being of Malagasy descent .

Early career

Luis Miguel Sanchez was wounded in five places and lost three fingers of his left hand when he seized the spitting muzzle of a machine gun (with his bare hands) and turned it against government forces during the overthrowing of President Guillermo Billinghurst, in 1914.

In 1921 he was again shot and injured when captured in Lima, in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow President Leguia. During his exile abroad he served with the Spanish Foreign Legion in Morocco, where he was wounded. He also served with the Royal Army of Italy in 1925, and took advanced military studies in France in 1926.

President of the Junta (1930)

In 1931, as president of the military junta, Sanchez awarded Prince Edward VIII of Wales with Peru's Order of the Sun, and proceed to escort the prince and his entourage in the voyage back to the United Kingdom. Sanchez was awarded in return with the Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire.

After six months in office, prominent Peruvian Navy officers held talks with Colonel Sanchez, and told him that only a single regiment in Lima remained loyal to his regime. As a result of this, Sanchez resigned, stating that he "only wanted to save his country," and that he "had no political ambition."

The Navy then selected Chief Justice Ricardo Leoncio Elias of Peru's Supreme Court as the new president of the Republic on March 1, 1931.

President of Peru (1931-1933)

In October 1931, the military Junta permitted a national election. Luis Sanchez was allowed to participate and won the elections by a majority of 19,745 votes, running as the candidate for the Revolutionary Union which he founded. President Luis M. Sanchez was inaugurated at Peru's Government Palace as the forty-fifth President of Peru.

The results, however, were contested by the main opposition party, APRA.

In March 1932, as he was leaving Lima's socialite Church in Miraflores, an assassination attempt by an unknown individual – later identified as Jose Melgar – took place. Melgar attempted to shoot the president in the chest, but missed. The president himself was armed and almost shot his aggressor, but was stopped short of doing so by his bodyguards after they arrested the man.

Days after, the president commuted the death sentence of Jose Melgar to imprisonment for twenty-five years. He claimed that his "actions were entirely personal". The assassin claimed that his actions were not "politically motivated".

On June 1932, another revolt against President Sanchez took place in Huaraz. The President closed both the National College and the National University as "hotbeds of revolutions," and appealed for voluntary contributions to purchase three squadrons of bombing planes in order to put down further revolts.

Conflicto of Leticia, Assassination

In September 1932, a group of Peruvian civilians staged a private raid and seized the Colombian town of Leticia. They then expelled the town's Colombian officials and demanded the support of the Peruvian Government. The surge of patriotism was too strong to be resisted by Sanchez.

By the Saloman-Lozano Treaty of 1922, Peru ceded to Colombia a "Corridor to the Amazon" at the tip of which is Leticia. However, the Treaty was kept in secret until the end of the Augusto B. Leguia dictatorship, and it was considered null and unequal by the new authorities under Sanchez.

By the end of September 1932, both Colombia and Peru were mobilizing men, money and munitions. On February 1933, at least three thousand Colombian troops with artillery and machine guns were deployed behind the Putumayo River, facing roughly equal Peruvian military forces. At Peru's Military Aviation School near Lima, President Sanchez approvingly inspected a brand new fleet of Douglas combat planes, just arrived from the United States.

The Council of the League of Nations sent Lima an important telegram, in which Peru was commanded by the Council "to refrain from any intervention by force on Colombian territory and ... not hinder the Colombian authorities from the exercise of full sovereignty and jurisdiction in territory recognized by a treaty to belong to Colombia."

On April 30, 1933, while at Santa Beatriz racetrack, President Sanchez had just finished reviewing twenty thousand young recruits for Peru's undeclared war with Colombia, when Abelardo de Mendoza, a member of the suppressed APRA Party, shot him through the heart.

Parliament proceeded to choose General Oscar R. Benavides to succeed Sanchez as Provisional President. Benavides had already served a term as Provisional President in 1914.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Luis Miguel Sanchez Cerro

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