Alvaro Mejía S.
Pedro Paulet Mostajo (1874-1945) managed the School of Arts and Crafts since 1904. Inside this school technicians needed for the future national industry where trained. He was convinced that the political power of a country was measured through his industry. “The contemporaneous period is developing towards industrialism”. He considered that we should take advantage of our sea in order to progress, that we should consider it our fourth natural region and that the construction of a road that unifies the Pacific with the Atlantic should be built. His proposals were not listened; and he left his school position in 1910. However, he did not abandon his convictions.
His Inter- Oceanic Highway
When he was consul in Yokohama he was witness of the Japanese economic miracle and he wrote thinking in the benefits for our country of its geographical location: “Peru’s central location along the Pacific’s South American coast, gives Peru the advantage of being a landscape between the northern and the southern part of the continent, but an advantage even better are the Peruvian Amazon tributaries that are quite easy and quickly to get to them form the coast, which ensures us with the best terrestrial stretch for communication between the Pacific and the Atlantic through the most marvelous and unexplored region of South America”.
“It was the beginning of the continent’s integration and it required the construction of trains that go daily from Lima to Buenos Aires, through Cusco and La Paz”
The Second World War gave the conditions to carry out some projects. In 1941, as the Chancellor Commercial Department’s general manager, he demanded “the intensive development of the three large national companies: irrigation, highways and industrialization”. According to Paulet, Marshal Óscar R. Benavides’ administration (1933-1939) had already started the first two, and Manuel Prado Ugarteche, who was his successor, started the third one and in 1939 decided to start a national iron and steel industry. Paulet, excited with this announcement, wrote that when the first blast furnace was inaugurated, we should celebrate it as the Independence Day: “This is because with coal and iron all type of national minerals and hydroelectric energy to forge special steel, we can produce factory ships, railways, cannons and machinery, munitions and a lot of tools with unbeatable quality and variety”. The proximity of a close and cheap iron and steel industry would also make “millions of Europeans manufacturers now forced to emigrate, transfer their machineries to our country.
The wise man considered the prosperous Argentina as the best market for Peruvian and other Ocean Pacific countries products. It was the beginning of the continent's integration and it demanded the construction of trains that will travel daily without transferring “between Lima and Buenos Aires, through Cusco and La Paz, bringing cereal and supplies in general from de pampas countries, and we would send them minerals and products from our countries of mountain chains and jungle”. La Gran Diagonal Sudamericana (The South American long diagonal) will open “profitable markets like the maritime one” and the Callao terminal will be “a continental terminal with its extreme in Buenos Aires”. The railroad would depart from Lima -according Paulet, this city had a central role in the traffic from north to south from west to east in South America-, going through Pachacámac, through Huancavelica, Ayacucho and Cusco, where it will diverge to Argentina (along the previously described road) and Brazil through Madre de Dios, defining the Peruvian path of the Trans-Oceanic highway.
Argentina and the blast furnace
In 1941, Paulet went to his last diplomatic mission, as the economic and commercial advisor of the Peruvian embassy in Buenos Aires in Argentina. His mission was to establish the Commerce Chamber between Peru and Argentina and with that his plans to start the continent’s integration seemed to be carried out. However, towards 1943, the national iron and steel industry announced by the president Prado stopped for economic reasons. Paulet didn’t live long enough to see the start of the steel and iron industry. He died in 1945, when he was 71 years old, previous to the end of the Second World War. After thirteen years of his death, in 1958, at last the first blast furnace of iron and steel industry was connected during the Manuel Prados’ second administration. In 1950, the French Foreign Affairs Secretary, Robert Schuman, proposed a European integration project which would lead to the European Coal and Steel Community, and this would also be the beginning of the actual European Union. A few years earlier, as we have seen, Paulet glimpsed and proposed something similar for our region.
For an aeronautics industry
In his book called “La otra mitad del mundo” (The other half of the world) (1959), after visiting the Soviet Union, the Peruvian philosopher Francisco Miro Quesada Cantuarias expressed his admiration for the Industrial Revolution, that lead that nation to a higher position than United States and that he had reached the summit with Spuntnik launch.
Years before, in 1944, in an interview with the Buenos Aires newspaper “Crítica”, Paulet spread his spacecraft project, the Torpedo airplane, serving South American industry. As Miro Quesada’ would said, he would have forged a South American “retropulsion industry”.