“It’s a matter of deception,” the elder Mr. Humala said of his son’s first year in office. The father has loudly opposed his son’s support of the mining industry and a government crackdown on antimining protests that has left several people dead.
He has accused the government of violating the rights of another son, Antauro, who is imprisoned for leading a failed rebellion in 2005. And after a cabinet reshuffling last month, Isaac Humala offered this analysis of most of his son’s ministers: “They should be in jail.”
The president’s brother Ulises, the oldest of the seven Humala children, compared the family’s wranglings — “Humala vs. Humala” is a headline that needs no translation here — to the escapades in “Dallas.”
“To me, the Humala family is the Andean version of the Addams Family,” said Nelson Manrique, a sociologist who backed Mr. Humala for president but is now critical of his government. “The family gets together, and you never know what’s going to come out.”
President Humala, 50, has sought to sidestep the attention focused on his familial discord, refusing to answer questions about it and saying that politics and family ought to be separate.
But the family drama resonates in part because the criticism voiced by the president’s nearest and dearest echoes a growing dissatisfaction with Mr. Humala among those who are not related to him. Sagging approval ratings show that many Peruvians — a multiethnic population of about 30 million — are unhappy with their leader.
The president’s political career has been a series of flip-flops. And his record during a crisis-ridden first year, which just ended, has only deepened the confusion about what he stands for.
He crashed onto the national scene in 2000, when as an army officer he led a brief revolt against the corrupt and quasi-dictatorial government of Alberto K. Fujimori.
When Mr. Humala first ran for president in 2006, he cast himself as a business-bashing leftist in the mold of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. He lost that contest; when he ran again last year, he moved to the center, hedging his populism by promising to adopt middle-of-the-road economic and social policies.
But after taking office in July last year, his government was rocked by repeated shocks, including strikes, widespread protests over mining projects and deadly attacks on the military by a remnant of the Shining Path guerrilla group. Mr. Humala responded by firing his left-leaning prime minister and bringing in a conservative former military officer to run his government, a further rightward move that angered his old supporters.
Another cabinet shake-up last month, including the appointment of the third prime minister in less than a year, was generally seen by commentators, including some in the president’s family, as more of the same.
“People thought that Ollanta would be different,” said Ulises Humala, the older brother. He offered a twist on his brother’s campaign slogan, which promised a “Great Transformation” in Peru. “The great transformation is that Ollanta became a traditional politician,” Ulises said. “He lies like the rest of them.”
It can be hard to follow this sprawling, brawling political family without a program.
Ulises Humala, 53, an engineering and economics professor, ran against his brother in the 2006 presidential race and said he planned to run for the presidency again. He has warned that his brother could become a dictator.
Imasumac Humala, a sister who lives in Paris, has joined in protests there against the proposed Conga mine, a huge gold mining project that Ollanta spoke out against as a candidate and then supported as president.
Alexis Humala, another brother, made headlines by traveling to Russia on what he passed off as an official business mission; the government said he was acting on his own.
Antauro Humala, the brother who is in prison for the 2005 revolt, caused embarrassment when videos surfaced showing him smoking marijuana behind bars. He was then moved to the nation’s highest-security lockup.
Liliana Humala, a cousin who was until recently Antauro Humala’s lawyer, said that Antauro had been beaten when he was transferred and that the president approved the transfer, which she said was illegal.
“We understand that Ollanta is the president of all Peruvians,” Ms. Humala said. But she added, “He has a family that he can’t mistreat and, in the case of Antauro, fail to respect their rights.”
Elena Humala, the president’s mother, holds him responsible for the prison’s harsh conditions, calling it “our Guantánamo,” a reference to the American military prison in Cuba.
And finally, there is the family ideology, known as ethnonationalism or ethnocacerism, a term derived from the name of a 19th-century military hero.
The brainchild of the elder Mr. Humala, ethnonationalism holds that indigenous and mixed-race Peruvians, whom he calls the “copper race,” should lead the country. A fringe movement, it leans heavily on the dream of recapturing a golden age of the Incas, the indigenous group whose Andean empire was overthrown by the Spanish.
Mr. Humala, 82, grew up in a village speaking Quechua, a native language, and considers himself copper. His ideas have been labeled racist, but he says they are based on racial pride, not discrimination.
President Humala rejects the ideology, but his brother Antauro has been its main promoter. His writings are full of anti-imperialist tirades and calls for neo-Incan dominance. He also rails against homosexuals and in one online post makes a derogatory reference to the Jewish heritage of his brother’s first prime minister.
Perhaps more than anything, Antauro’s treatment in prison has caused a deep rift in the family. “He has broken off with me,” the elder Mr. Humala said of his son the president, adding that they had not talked in months. He spoke at his home in Lima, where he raises guinea pigs, a local delicacy, in the backyard.
The father said that his son should have freed Antauro. And he predicted that someday Antauro would be president.
Both parents insisted they loved their children, criticism aside. And Isaac Humala held out hope that the deception he feels is temporary. He said that as president his son was only pretending to move to the right and that he would eventually show his true ethnonationalist colors.
But he also sketched out a darker possibility, in which his son is being held prisoner, politically speaking, by a right-wing cabal. He compared his son’s situation to the Spanish conquest, when conquistadors led by Francisco Pizarro took the Inca emperor Atahualpa captive.
“Ollanta should be the next legitimate government after Atahualpa, almost 500 years later, but he is not,” the father said. “He is imprisoned in the palace at the hands of the descendants of Pizarro.”
By WILLIAM NEUMAN
Andrea Zarate contributed reporting.