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26 January 2016

José de la Riva-Agüero y Osma (1885–1944) writer, politician.

Riva-Agüero, descended from the first Peruvian President José de la Riva Agüero y Sánchez-Boquete, was educated at the National University of San Marcos and the University of Lima. He became a professor of history at San Marcos.

He joined the army for the wars against Bolivia 1909 and Ecuador 1910, but was never on active duty. In 1915, he was a co-founder of the moderate Democratic National Party. After the July 1919 coup Riva-Agüero went to Europe for 11 years where he read authors on the radical Catholic right such as Charles Maurras.

He returned to Peru in 1930. He was mayor of Lima, 1931-2, and then appointed Chairman of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Education and Worship in 1933 by president Óscar R. Benavides. Riva-Agüero resigned six months later over the mutual consent divorce law which he regarded as un-Catholic. He was Dean of the Lima Bar Association, 1936 (despite having never practiced law), and Director of the Peruvian Academy of Language, 1934-44.

Riva-Agüero chaired the Catholic Acción Patriótica, which supported the presidential candidacy of Manuel Villarán. He later renamed it the Peruvian Fascist Brotherhood. Initially he declared his support for fascism in Italy and Spain, but he lost support as he also became anti-semitic and supported the Nazis.

He insisted that he be addressed with the family title of Marquis of Aulestia and was generally seen as arrogant. He also started appearing at public functions dressed as female.

He was ignored after Peru joined the allies in 1942, especially as he continued to write in defence of the Axis powers.

He died of a stroke at age 59. He had never married and bequeathed his estate to the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.

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