LIMA, Peru—In what ended up being a last minute decision, former Peruvian president, Alan Garcia, has died after shooting himself in the neck when Peruvian authorities tried to arrest him on corruption charges.
Upon initial reports, Garcia, 69, was in critical condition, according to Andina, the state news agency, who was rushed to Casimiro Ulloa Hospital around 6:45 a.m. local time, out in Lima, the state’s capitol. The former president underwent surgery, having suffered three heart attacks with his medical team having to resuscitate him all three times.
Garcia’s personal secretary, Ricardo Pineda, confirmed his death earlier this morning. Pineda told a local Peruvian radio station that the authorities arrived at Garcia’s home with an arrest warrant, and he locked himself in his bedroom, shot himself, and was immediately rushed to a hospital shock unit.
“The former president made the decision to shoot himself,” Erasmo Reyna, Garcia’s attorney said outside the hospital.
Shortly after his death was confirmed, protesters began gathering outside the hospital.
The Odebrecht Corruption Scandal
Garcia’s suicide was triggered by the extensive bribery investigation he has been involved with in connection with a mass corruption scandal involving Odebrecht, one of Latin America’s largest construction firms. The scandal, the largest in Latin American history, included a large number of former Latin American leaders, including Ecuador’s Vice-President, Jorge Glas and former Brazilian president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Odebrecht has been accused of shelling out almost $800 million in bribes between 2001 and 2016 to get contracts from governments to build roads, bridges, dams, and highways. This coincided with Garcia’s second term as president, as he served from 1985-1990, and again in 2006-2011.
Peru’s economy has continued to suffer during the length of the investigation, as billions of dollars worth of major constructions suddenly came to a stop during the investigation.
In his most recent tweet, Garcia indicated that there was “no shred of evidence” against him, and this is nothing but pure “speculation” by Peruvian prosecutors.