The major economic associations in Peru were the National Industries Association (Sociedad Nacional de Industrias--SNI), the National Confederation of Private Business (Confederación Nacional de Instituciones Empresariales Privadas--Confiep), and the Apemipe (Peruvian Association of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses). Traditionally, such organizations had played a minimal role in politics. In the 1980s, however, they became actively involved in the nation's politics.
García's national understanding (concertación) strategy called for cooperation between government and business in economic policy-making. Nevertheless, García bypassed organized business sectors, the foremost among them being Confiep, and dealt instead directly with the twelve most powerful businesspeople in the country, the so-called twelve apostles. Thus, when García threatened the entire private sector with his surprise nationalization of the nation's banks, Confiep became one of the most active supporters of the bankers protesting García's move, and subsequently of Vargas Llosa's Liberty movement. Meanwhile, two former presidents of Confiep--now senators Francisco Pardo Mesones of Somos Libres (We Are Free) and Ricardo Vega Llona of Fredemo--launched independent candidacies in the 1990 elections.
Ironically, Apemipe became politically active in opposition to Vargas Llosa and his proposed policies, which threatened the viability of many small-businesspeople. The former president of Apemipe, Máximo San Román, ran as first vice president for Cambio, and became president of the Senate.
Organized business, per se, has never been particularly influential in Peru. Instead, strong influence has been wielded by foreign companies, such as the International Petroleum Corporation (IPC), or by families, such as the Romeros and the Wieses, who had substantial holdings across a variety of industries. Yet with the economic situation in May 1991 and the substantial reduction of foreign investment, the domestic private sector had increased in its relative economic importance. Thus, the sector's tendency to use its organizations to influence political trends was likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
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