LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s former president Alan Garcia died in a hospital in Lima on Wednesday, hours after taking pictures himself within the head to keep away from arrest in reference to a bribery probe, authorities stated on Wednesday.
Garcia, who had six grownup youngsters, was 69.
A talented orator elected president twice, first as a firebrand leftist after which as a champion of international funding and free commerce, Garcia had been dogged by allegations of corruption in recent times that he had repeatedly denied.
Garcia was considered one of 9 individuals a decide had ordered to be arrested on Wednesday for alleged involvement in bribes distributed by Odebrecht, a Brazilian building firm that triggered Latin America’s largest graft scandal when it admitted in 2016 that it had paid kickbacks to politicians throughout the area to safe profitable contracts.
Whereas three former presidents in Peru have additionally been ordered to jail in reference to Odebrecht, Garcia had blamed his authorized troubles on political persecution, accusing President Martin Vizcarra with out proof of attempting to silence him.
“Others may promote out, not me,” Garcia stated in a few of his final broadcast feedback on Tuesday, repeating a phrase he has used incessantly as his political foes grew to become ensnared within the Odebrecht investigation.
Members of his once-powerful Apra occasion introduced his dying to crowds gathered exterior of hospital Casimiro Ulloa, the place he suffered three cardiac arrests and underwent emergency surgical procedure.
“Apra by no means dies!” his supporters chanted to information cameras as police in riot gear stood by.
Vizcarra’s authorities ordered flags to be flown at half mast. “I’m dismayed by the dying of former president Alan Garcia,” Vizcarra stated on Twitter. “I ship my condolences to his household and family members.”
‘SHOT FROM A FIREARM HEARD’
Garcia’s dying shocked the Andean nation that had watched him grow to be one of many world’s youngest presidents when elected at 36 in 1985, a time period that was marked by a extreme financial disaster and the rise of leftist insurgent teams. He was elected to a different five-year time period in 2006 after remaking himself as a free-market proponent.
Inside Minister Carlos Moran stated at a information convention shortly earlier than Garcia died that the previous president had advised police he wanted to name his legal professional after they arrived at his dwelling to arrest him.
“He entered his room and closed the door behind him,” Moran stated. “Inside a couple of minutes, a shot from a firearm was heard, and police forcibly entered the room and located Mr. Garcia sitting with a wound in his head.”
Final yr, Garcia requested Uruguay for political asylum after he was banned from leaving the nation to maintain him from fleeing or obstructing the investigation. Uruguay rejected the request.
Garcia would have been the third former president in Peru to have been jailed within the Odebrecht case. Ollanta Humala spent 9 months in pre-trial detention in 2017-2018 and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was arrested with out fees final week.
A fourth former president, Alejandro Toledo, is combating extradition from California after a decide in Peru ordered him jailed for 18 months in reference to Odebrecht in 2017.
All have denied wrongdoing in reference to Odebrecht.
In Peru, felony suspects might be ordered to spend as much as three years in jail earlier than trial if prosecutors can present they’ve proof that doubtless would result in a conviction and the suspect would doubtless flee or attempt to intervene within the investigation.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera lamented Garcia’s dying. “I interacted with him quite a bit, not simply after we each have been presidents, however earlier than and afterwards,” Pinera stated on Twitter. “Might God take his soul.”
Reporting By Mitra Taj and Marco Aquino; Enhancing by Invoice Trott and Marguerita Choy