Peru Five questions after the suicide of Alan Garcia

Peru: Five questions after Alan Garcia suicide

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As the police entered his home and put him in custody, former Peruvian head of state Alan Garcia committed suicide. He was the subject of an extensive corruption investigation, along with three other former presidents.

In the early hours of Wednesday, April 17, police arrive at the home of the former head of state of Peru, Alan Garcia, in Lima. The 69 year old man sees them, goes to his room explaining that he will call his lawyer, and shoot himself in the temple, as told by the Peruvian newspaper La Republica, quoted by Courrier International.

Transferred immediately to a hospital in the capital, he died of his injuries during the day. Three days of national mourning were decreed by the government. The family, however, refused to accept state honors for the funeral, as is the custom for former presidents. Alan Garcia was under investigation for corruption conducted by the Peruvian justice for a year. Franceinfo takes stock of this affair, which spreads beyond Peru the political class of several Latin American countries.

Who was Alan Garcia?
Leader of the American Revolutionary People’s Alliance (APRA, Social Democrat), this lawyer by training was the youngest president of the Peruvian Republic, from 1985 to 1990, before being re-elected from 2006 to 2011. Between his two terms he fled to France until 2001, when his successor wanted to stop him.

What did justice reproach him for?
Alan Garcia was prosecuted for alleged money laundering in an investigation launched a year ago. He was notably suspected of receiving bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht, to obtain the construction of the first subway of Lima. Odebrecht has recently admitted to paying bribes to two of the closest aides to the former head of state with accounts in Andorra, as reported by Le Monde.

What is the background of this survey in Peru?
Odebrecht’s actions are in fact linked to those of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras. Petrobras is at the heart of “Operation Lava Jato”, named after a sprawling anti-corruption investigation launched six years ago.

Odebreht is accused of distributing bribes in several Latin American countries (Peru, Brazil, Venezuela) and Africa to obtain tenders from Petrobras. According to the US Department of Justice, $ 788 million has been distributed by the Brazilian construction company for more than a decade. In Peru, Odebrecht acknowledged paying $ 29 million between 2005 and 2014 for lucrative contracts.

What was the defense of the former Peruvian president?
In recent weeks, Alan Garcia had defended himself from receiving bribes from Odebrecht. The day before his suicide, he had assured that he would not hide and not seek asylum. For the former head of state had tried several times in recent months to escape justice: he had already fled to Spain before the Peruvian justice ordered him to return to Lima. In November 2018, he requested diplomatic asylum from Uruguay, which had been refused. Its ban on leaving the territory was pronounced in stride.

Are other Peruvian leaders involved?
Alan Garcia is not the only Peruvian politician who was targeted. Three other former presidents, Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), Ollanta Humala (2011-2016) and Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (2016-2018), are also in the crosshairs of justice in the same case Odebrecht. The first has been on the run since 2017 in the United States. President Humala, meanwhile, was placed in pre-trial detention and released nine months later.

A week before Alan Garcia’s suicide, 80-year-old Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was also detained on suspicion of corruption in the Odebrecht affair when he was Prime Minister of Alejandro Toledo. After the announcement of the suicide of his predecessor, he was admitted to intensive care in a clinic in Lima because of high blood pressure.

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