Today Peruvian President Alan García committed suicide when police officers came to arrest him at his home, as part of the Odebrecht investigations into massive corruption networks throughout Latin America.
As Peruvian police knocked on his door, Garcia instructed them to call his attorney. He then proceeded to the bedroom, where he shot himself in the head with a firearm.
#ÚltimaHora | El estado del expresidente peruano Alan García es grave. La tomografía muestra los severos daños ocasionados por el disparo que se realizó en su cabeza al momento de tratar de ser detenido por el caso Odebrecht. (Más info en breve en https://t.co/Pf3iLrN9cv) #17Abr pic.twitter.com/H8wytK0kep
— PanAm Post Español (@PanAmPost_es) April 17, 2019
The Peruvian Minister of Health, Zulema Tomás, reported that during the surgery to save García’s life, the ex-president had suffered three heart attacks, and had affirmed that the former president’s situation was “very serious and critical.”
In the last statements that former President Garcia gave to the press, he deemed the order for his preliminary arrest to be “a great injustice”, in the wake of investigations into alleged money laundering.
“Based on speculation people should not be deprived of their freedom, even in a preliminary fashion. I think that would be a great injustice, although we have seen such cases lately,” said Garcia.
In his last interview, given on the night of Tuesday, April 16, Garcia insisted on his innocence and affirmed, in a few words that seemed to foreshadow what would happen, that he had faith in his historical legacy: “I am a Christian. I believe in life after death. I think I have earned a small place in the history of Peru.”
The preliminary arrest warrant also includes Luis Nava, former Chief of Staff during the second Aprista government, and textile entrepreneur Miguel Atala, a close friend of the former president. Their sons, José Nava and Samir Atala, respectively, were also included in the warrant.
While the doctors tried to save the former president’s life, another ex-president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK), spent the night in a medical clinic with a heart condition, after he was arrested for the alleged crime of money laundering, also in the framework of the Odebrecht case.
In December 2018, former President García requested diplomatic asylum from the government of Uruguay, but his request was denied.
The decision made by the Uruguayan president and Foreign Minister, Rodolfo Nin Novoa, was based on “strictly legal considerations” and on the extensive report detailing the charges sent by the Peruvian government, which totaled around 1,000 pages.
Foreign Minister Nin said at that time that his government considers that the judicial investigations against García “did not constitute political persecution” and are more linked to economic and administrative issues related to his two efforts as president, from 1985-1990 and 2006-2011.
Investigated in the Lava Jato case
Jorge Barata, former Odebrecht representative in Peru, revealed that in the 2006 campaign, the only candidate that the construction giant supported financially was Alan García Pérez, who was the eventual winner in that election.
Garcia is alleged to have been paid USD $200,000 in cash, through Luis Alva Castro, former minister, ex-deputy, former presidential candidate and known APRA leader. As is the case with Keiko Fujimori, Barata said he did not contact the candidate.
During his tenure, García and his ministers approved an unusual provision that allowed Odebrecht and its partner Graña y Montero to increase the cost of sections 1 and 2 of Line 1 of the Lima Metro by more than USD $400 million.
Garcia won office twice with the backing of the center-left Popular Alliance of the American Revolution (APRA) party, affiliated with the Socialist International.
In his first presidential campaign he was facing a second round runoff against Alfonso Barrantes of the United Left Party. However, Barrantes suspended his campaign, citing his desire to promote Peruvian unity and avoid a divisive second round runoff election.
The Odebrecht scandal has decimated the Latin American political class over the past several years, and resulted in hundreds of prosecutions and convictions.