Peruvian Communist Party

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Peruvian Communist Party


(PCP; Partido Comunista Peruano), a political party created in 1928 out of communist groups in Peru; prior to 1930 it was known as the Socialist Party of Peru.

J. C. Mariátegui was the founder and ideological leader of the PCP, which joined the Comintern in 1935. Despite the difficulties of operating underground, the party worked to unite the working people, organized an antifascist movement, and campaigned for solidarity with Republican Spain (1936-39). Between 1940 and 1942 the party experienced a serious internal crisis, precipitated by the treachery of E. Ravines, the party’s general secretary at that time, and his faction. During and after World War II, amid an upsurge in the workers’ and national liberation movements in Peru, the party strengthened its influence among the masses and achieved legal status. At its Third Congress in 1948 the party adopted a program. By this time it had a membership of more than 40,000.

During M. Odría’s dictatorship (1948-56), the PCP was outlawed and harshly persecuted. Many Communists were killed or arrested. Vacillating elements left the party, and factions arose, leading to intraparty struggles. Nevertheless, the PCP played a leading role in the popular uprising in Arequipa in 1950, and in the mass strike movement in 1954-55.

After 1956, when the party was permitted to function legally, it intensified its activity. In 1959 the PCP led a movement for solidarity with the Cuban Revolution. In 1960 the party was again banned. At its Fourth Congress in 1962 the PCP adopted its rules and set for itself the task of creating an alliance between workers and peasants as the basis for a united front of the country’s democratic forces. At the beginning of 1963 the PCP was again hounded, and about 1,000 Communists were arrested, including its leaders, Acosta Salas and J. del Prado Chávez. In these circumstances, a group of dissidents led by J. Sotomayor and S. Paredes attempted to seize the leadership in the party and to detach it from the international Communist movement. In January 1964 the dissidents were expelled from the PCP. A plenary session of the Central Committee of the PCP, held in August 1965, called upon Communists and all Peruvians to “correctly employ all forms of struggle.” It emphasized the importance of the partisan movement that had arisen in several parts of the country during the summer and noted that the principal task of the moment was the struggle for democratic rights and liberties. The Fifth National Conference, held in July 1966, adopted resolutions that facilitated the growth of the PCP’s influence among the working people and students.

The PCP gave its support to the anti-imperialist and anti-oligarchic policies adopted by the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces, which came to power in October 1968. After emerging from the underground, the party began to mobilize the masses for active participation in the social and economic changes being carried out by the government. The Fifth Congress of the PCP (1969) proposed a program to safeguard the anti-imperialist and antioligarchic gains made by the Peruvian people. At the plenary session of the Central Committee of the PCP held in September 1972 it was emphasized that the social and economic reforms being implemented by the government were evolving from national and patriotic changes into anti-imperialist and antioligarchic ones. The Sixth Congress of the PCP (1973) adopted a new program and reaffirmed the party’s support for the patriotic policies of the Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces and for the further unification of the working class, the peasantry, and the entire people in order to intensify the revolutionary process.

Delegations from the PCP took part in the international conferences of Communist and workers’ parties held in Moscow in 1957, 1960, and 1969. The PCP approved the documents adopted at the conferences.

Under its rules, the PCP is organized according to the principles of democratic centralism. The highest party body is the Congress, and between Congresses it is the Central Committee, which elects from among its members the Political Commission and the Secretariat. The general secretary of the Central Committee of the PCP is J. del Prado Chávez. The party’s main press organ is the newspaper Unidad.

(See Table 1 for a list of the congresses of the Peruvian Communist Party.)

Table 1. Congresses of the Peruvian Communist Party
First ..................Chosica1942
Second .................LimaMarch, 1946
Third ..................Lima1948
Fourth .................LimaAugust-September, 1962
Fifth...................LimaMarch, 1969
Sixth ..................Near LimaNovember, 1973


Mariátegui, J. C. Sem’ ocherkov istolkovaniia peruanskoi deistvitel’nosti. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from Spanish.)
Conclusiones y resoluciones del V Congreso del Partido Comunista Peruano. Lima, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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