He was born on September 19, 1919 in the District of Barranco, Lima. He studied at the National College of Tacna. Attracted by a military career, he enlisted as a soldier in 1936, and then entered the Chorrillos Military School, from where he graduated as Second Lieutenant of Artillery in 1940. Later, with the rank of Lieutenant (1943) he served as Cadet instructor at the Military School of Chorrillos2 and as Captain (1946) he was appointed as aide-de-camp to President José Luis Bustamante y Rivero and, later, instructor at the Artillery School. During his military career, he served as deputy director of the Artillery School, professor of general tactics and head of the research and development department of the Higher School of War, head of the Mariscal La Mar Artillery Group No. 6, executive of the Directorate Intelligence and Chief of Staff of the First Light Division.3
In 1963, he studied at the Centro de Altos Estudios Militares (CAEM), where he was later a professor of National Strategy and founder of the Military Strategy course. Promoted to Brigadier General in 1966, he was Director of Intelligence, Commander General of the Peruvian Military Training Center and professor of Intelligence and National Strategy at the Research School, as well as the Air Force High Command Course.4
When the Military Government of General Juan Velasco Alvarado was established, he assumed the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs (1968 – 1971), at the head of which he developed an energetic international policy and continued the policy of integration of the Andean countries initiated by the Government of Fernando Belaunde Terry. On the other hand, Peru hosted the meeting of the Group of 77 of the Non-Aligned Movement (or Third World), held in Lima in October 1971, placing itself in a leadership position at the Latin American and Third World level.5
In 1972, General Mercado Jarrín was appointed General Commander of the Army, to later be appointed Minister of War and President of the Council of Ministers. After a brilliant career, General Mercado retired in 1974 with the rank of Major General.6 After his retirement, he dedicated himself to giving talks and lectures on his specialty, Geopolitics. He chaired the Institute of Geopolitics and Strategy. Advanced Geopolitical and Geostrategist 7, a tireless fighter for the defense of the country’s natural resources, national sovereignty, the 200 Mile Thesis, the creation of the Andean Pact, the Geostrategic Revolution, the Bioceanic Multimodal Integration, the Concept Vision of Security, National Defense and the historical mandate of Modernization and Restructuring of the Armed Forces.
General Mercado Jarrín passed away on June 18, 2012, at the age of 93. His remains rest in the Camposanto de los Jardines de la Paz in the District of La Molina, Lima.
Geopolitics and Geostrategic Publications:8
- Peru and its foreign policy (1971), a compilation of speeches made in his capacity as Minister of Foreign Relations.
- Security, politics, and strategy (1974)
- Essays (1974)
- A South American Defense and Security System (1989)
- Consequences and Lessons of the Persian Gulf War (1991)
- Peru: geopolitical perspectives (1993)
- Geopolitics in the third millennium (1995)
- The Geostrategic Revolution (2001)
His articles have also appeared in various magazines, such as Defense and National Development (1994), Socialism and Participation (1995), International Analysis (1996), among others.
- Luis Vigil, “Biografía del General Edgardo Mercado Jarrin: ¡HASTA SIEMPRE, MI GENERAL!,” Mejor hablar de ciertas cosas (June 20, 2012), blog entry, https://luizcore.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/biografia-del-general-edgardo-mercado-jarrin-hasta-siempre-mi-general/ (accessed March 17, 2021).
- https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgardo_Mercado_Jarr%C3%ADn#cite_note-1 (accessed March 17, 2021)
- Vigil, “Biografía del General Edgardo Mercado Jarrin”