Faculty Advisor

Professor Judith Mansilla

Author Biographical Statement

Hayley Serpa is a current accelerated master’s or 4+1 student in the Department of History at FIU. She has a minor in Religious Studies and is currently embarking on the final year of her master’s program. Her personal research interests lie in the modern history of Latin America, specifically examining the history of gender, sexuality, and social movements in Peru. Her undergraduate research through the Honors College ARCH program examined the military regime of General Velasco in Peru. For her master’s research, she plans to analyze the development of autonomous peasant patrols known as rondas campesinas through oral history research in Peru’s Amazon. Outside of her research and classes, Hayley serves as a Head Delegate for FIU’s Model United Nations team and works closely with the Humanities Edge Program.


This brief academic article examines the military government of General Juan Velasco Alvarado in Peru from 1968 through 1975 via the lens of Michel Foucauld’s foundational concepts of biopolitics and biopower. It analyzes a variety of primary and secondary sources, including legal documents from Velasco’s government, state propaganda posters, economic appendixes, historiographical analyses from the time, and other important documents. By examining this varied set of documents, we are able to get a better understanding of how biopower was utilized by Velasco’s government, as best seen through the discourse they maintained, to legitimize their undemocratic hold on power. This comprehensive research study also allows us to apply basic concepts of state power, authority, discourse, and biopolitics to other pivotal moments in twentieth-century Latin America.