In the early morning of April 17 around 7.45am, ex-president of Peru, Alan Garcia took his own life.
The former president who governed Peru from 1985 till 1990 and had a second term in office from 2006 till 2011, was for months already under scrutiny for corruption charges during his second presidency.Theses corruption charges came to light due to the massive Odebrecht trials that engulf South America. Odebrecht, a huge Brazilian contractor is being charged with bribes to over 30 governments and opposition parties in South America and Africa in order to win large construction contracts, both in the public as well as the private sector. Odebrecht has admitted to have paid over 30 million US Dollars in bribes in Peru, large part of which went to former and current presidents, opposition and members of congress.
Former president Garcia was under investigations for several months and was not allowed to leave the country. Mr. Garcia, who always denied all accusations, therefore sought political asylum at the Embassy of Uruguay in Lima, a request that got denied a couple of days later. Rumors of Mr. Garcia having to go to jail during the remaining time of the investigation surged since his attempt to get political asylum. Therefore it did not come as a surprise that this morning the judicial police proceeded with arresting Mr. Garcia during which Mr. Garcia locked himself in the bedroom and shot himself in the head. He was rushed to hospital in critical condition and died a couple of hours later from the sustained injury.
After last week, when ex-president Kuczynski was arrested for corruption charges, Mr. Garcia was the only of the last 5 ex-presidents in Peru that were still in liberty and with his dead finding a new low in Peruvian political history. A short summary of all presidents that have ruled Peru for more than 35 years, from 1984 till 2019;
Alan Garcia; first government responsible for the largest inflation in the history of the country and his second term characterized by corruption scandals and human right incidents such as the storming of a prison in Lima as well as the attack on Indigenous protesters in Bagua. Several months under investigation and today killed himself when on the point of being arrested.
Alberto Fujimori; did almost three terms. First term recognized as a period of economic growth for Peru after the years of inflation, the taking of the Japanese Embassy in Lima and the struggle against the Marxist Sendero Luminoso as well as the Maoistic Movimiento Revolucionario Tupac Amaru (MRTA) groups that terrorized parts of Peru as well as the capital. Got reelected and in his second term started working towards changing the constitution allowing for a third term in office. During the second term the first signs of dictatorship (restriction of free press, creation of special police forces and paramilitary groups) as well as corruption started coming to the surface, many of these led by his right hand Vladimiro Montesinos. By the end of his third term Fujimore executed as it is called in Peru “Autogolpe” or Coup d’état, by cancelling congress completely and taking almost absolute power. He never got to a third term as he fled to Japan on the end of his second term and stayed there in political refuge till 2005 when he visited a congress in Chile and was arrested and extradited to Peru where he has been sentenced for 25 years mostly for counts of being the head behind human rights violations by paramilitary groups operating under his direct command as well as corruption charges. He is now serving his time in Peru but due to his high age and bad health was released briefly last before he release was cancelled again.
Alejandro Toledo; Peru’s first president from the interior of the country. Coming from a poor family of farmers he fought his way up and was able to get a good education in Lima which allowed him to study in San Francisco as well as Stanford. On return to Peru he started a rapidly growing political career and was able to get elected president in 2001. A presidency plagued with corruption charges it was no wonder that his term was characterized by all kinds of controversies and low approval rates. After his presidency he did not get reelected losing to Alan Garcia for his second presidency. He soon was started to be investigated for some strange transactions and acquisitions, an investigation that lead to more serious corruption and fraud charges. He fled the country and is now fugitive in the USA.
Ollanta Humala; comes from a military family and he as well started his career also in the military. Vaguely participated in several army interventions bordering with human rights violations and an attempt to throw over the government staged nearby Arequipa by his younger brother Antauro. He became a quickly rising star in the nationalist movement of Peru and became elected president, mostly by votes from the interior of the country in 2011. Finished his term in 2016 under a cloud of controversy and seen as the puppet of his wife Nadine Heredia who was seen as the brain behind Ollanta’s rise in politics. He and his wife are both in jail under suspicion of money laundry, fraud, falsification of documents and misuse of influences and power. On top of this it seems they are also involved in the Odebrecht bribes case.
Pedro Pablo Kuzcynski; coming from a somewhat aristocratic family of German/French descend he grew up all over Peru as well as parts abroad. He was blessed with higher education leading him to study at some of the top schools in Europe as well as the USA. His career was mostly in banking with several high end positions in international banks, until he launched himself into politics with the position of minister of finance and economy under Alejandro Toledo as his highest public cargo. After two failed attempts for the presidency he made it with a narrow victory over Keiko Fujimori.
-Keiko Fujimori; correct, the daughter of Alberto, former first lady under his second government (when Alberto pushed his wife to the side in favor of his oldest daughter) and leader of the opposition party, 3 times presidential candidate. Her party now holds a majority in congress, most of its members abusing its political immunity for personal cases running against them. Keiko is also in prison now under investigation in the Odebrecht scandal for illegal financing during her presidential campaigns (one of which was against Humala who most likely was also sponsored by Odebrecht at the same time) -
Kuzcynski took office in 2016 but shortly after narrowly survived a vote of confidence against him in congress because of involvement of money laundry and fraud cases in earlier years. He narrowly survived this one but this turned out the engine behind a second vote of confidence built upon the same case but on top of this a released video where people on his behalf were negotiating votes with congress for the first vote of confidence. The second vote of confidence he had no chance of surviving, obliging him to resign and allow Martin Vizcarra, his vice president to take his place. Martin Vizcarra is still president of Peru and will end his term in 2021. What will happen next is still very much unclear.
So all of Peru’s presidents from the last 35 years are either dead (1) or imprisoned (5). Even though most of them will have done enough wrong to be sentenced for life several times, it cannot escape the eye of the reader the machine that must exist behind all of these arrests and endless investigations over investigations. It is therefore quite clear that political persecutions are a weapon unlike any other when applied among political adversaries in Peru. Ex-president Garcia died at an age of 69 years and left behind 6 children with three different partners. The investigations would continue…