Things That Matter

Peru’s Former President Alan Garcia Commits Suicide As Police Attempt Arrest In Corruption Charges

Ex-Peruvian President Alan Garcia was in his home when the police approached to arrest him for his involvement in the Odebrecht corruption case. Garcia would have been the latest former Peruvian president to be in jail. While some people are unbothered by his death, some hardline supporters are blaming law enforcement in his death.

Ex-Peruvian President Alan Garcia is dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Credit: @jomaburt / Twitter

According to AFP, the Odebercht construction company was involved in paying bribes to presidents and politicians in 12 countries throughout Latin America. The construction company paid $788 million in bribes to get contracts to build major infrastructure projects, including a lot of the infrastructure used for the 2014 Olympics in Brazil.

The news of Garcia’s suicide to avoid questioning in the largest corruption scandal to rock Latin America has received mixed reactions.

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Garcia served as president of Peru twice. His first term as president was from 1985 to 1990 and his second term took place from 2006 to 2011. Garcia was facing charges and question for bribes he allegedly took from Odebrecht during his second term as president.

Some of the people who have interviewed and dealt with the president see him as a role model for one of the most disastrous and deadly regimes currently in Latin America.

The legacy Garcia leaves behind is one filled with doubt and strong accusations of corruption.

Credit: @michealreid52 / Twitter

Note: being a great orator is not always a good thing. His suicide is leading many to believe he was indeed guilty and that he killed himself so he wouldn’t have to answer for his crimes.

Even those who knew him are unsure of his actions in their entirety.

Credit: @michealreid52 / Twitter

Some prominent journalists are sharing their moments of interviewing and conversing with Garcia during their careers. Despite their closeness with the Peruvian politician, they offer a glimpse into the confusion that surrounds his ultimate legacy.

There seems to be a pattern of people both admitting that he is likely guilty of the corruption charges he faces but might also be innocent. As mentioned in the tweet above, there is a sentiment among Peruvians that Garcia was just another corrupt politician that was getting the justice he deserved.

The death has given rise to some dissent in Mexico as the Odebrecht scandal hasn’t impacted the country as much as the rest of Latin America.

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The exiting government of Enrique Peña Nieto faced strong criticism for not taking action against the construction company. Current Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, ran a campaign promising an end to corruption in Mexico and justice for those involved in corruption.

However, Garcia’s strongest supporters are mourning the tragic death of their leader.

Garcia won the 2006 election with 52 percent of the vote beating his opponent, Ollanta Humala, by fewer than 700,000 votes. Despite being out of office for around eight years, his supporters have stayed true to their commitment to Garcia.

Many of Garcia’s supporters are even accusing law enforcement of killing the former president while he was in his home.

Official reports state that Garcia locked himself in his bedroom and committed suicide as police advanced on his home to arrest him. Rather than face the police and the charges he is accused of, Garcia end his life forever throwing his legacy as president in Peru into question.

READ: 13 People Have Accused Peruvian Photographer Mario Testino of Sexual Assault

Desperate For Work, Immigrant Workers Are Collecting The Bodies Of Covid-19 Victims

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Desperate For Work, Immigrant Workers Are Collecting The Bodies Of Covid-19 Victims

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Countries across Latin America are struggling to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. In fact, Latin America is now considered the epicenter of the global outbreak, as countries in the region are ravaged by the virus. From Brazil to Mexico, government responses have varied widely and adherence to social distancing guidelines has been difficult for communities with little in the way of a financial safety net.

Meanwhile, Latin America is still experiencing a refugee crisis as Venezuelans flee their country for better opportunities in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and even Mexico. This has led to many migrants being forced to take less than ideal jobs as ordinary work opportunity have dried up as the economies have been hit hard by the pandemic.

In Peru, migrants are collecting bodies of those who have died from Covid-19 in order to make a living.

Despite Peru’s early action to contain the pandemic, the coronavirus has spread like wildfire through the country. More than 390,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus so far. Meanwhile, the country is a destination for Venezuelan refugees, with at least 870,000 who have ended up in Peru, working low-wage jobs to make ends meet or to send funds home to impoverished loved ones.

One of the jobs these migrants are working is to collect the bodies of those who have died from Covid-19. It’s a grim job but they earn $500 a month for their efforts, nearly double the minimum wage in Peru. They work up to 19 hours a day, seven days a week.

Most of the bodies they collect are from poor neighborhoods, from homes where people can’t afford to hire a funeral director to handle the burial. There have been more than 13,000 deaths from Covid-19, and the public health system is collapsing under the weight of the grim toll. What’s left for the poor is a death with little dignity.

At the city’s El Angel Cemetery crematorium, many of the staff handling bodies also are Venezuelans.

“The Peruvians don’t do it. It’s tough,” said Orlando Arteaga, who works seven days a week, earning the money he needs to support three children in Venezuela and a 2-year-old daughter in Lima. He told CNN he never imagined he would see so much death, but that “somebody has to do it — and we need work.”

Peru has been hit hard by the outbreak and its death toll continues to rise.

As of July 28, Peru has seen more than 390,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and there have been 18,418 deaths related to the virus. These numbers have skyrocketed in recent weeks. In fact, at the beginning of the crisis, Peru appeared as a model for other countries in the region.

Peru was praised early on in the pandemic for its swift and decisive response, buffered by an enviable fiscal cushion. But four months later, the government’s disjointed execution of its strategy has made the country a cautionary tale for how not to fight Covid-19. Early on, Peru’s government imposed a strict lockdown that is only now being eased. A few days later, a fiscal package of more than 10% of GDP was announced, including cash transfers to the poorest third of the population, credit support for businesses and, most importantly, expanded funding to the health sector.

And yet, Peru’s record on dealing with the pandemic has not only been disappointing – it is among the worst in the world.

Venezuelan refugees have been pouring out of the country looking for better opportunities and ways to support their families.

Although Venezuela hasn’t been hit hard by the Coronavirus, compared to other countries – although this is beginning to change. However, it’s experiencing an economic catastrophe that has left millions in extreme poverty.

The country has recorded almost 16,000 cases of Covid-19 and less than 150 deaths. But the country is being ravaged by fuel and electricity shortages, a near worthless currency, and political strife that has rendered much of the government useless.

Countries in the region are being dramatically affected by the fallout. Neighboring Colombia, for instance, has absorbed some 1.6 million Venezuelan refugees to date in a migration wave that is severely straining government resources and adversely impacting the national economy. Peru has experienced much the same dynamic, as — to a lesser extent — have countries like Ecuador, Brazil and Chile. That’s because eight out of ten Venezuelan refugees have remained in Latin America and the Caribbean, so local governments have been forced to bear the brunt of Venezuela’s unfolding collapse.

The Puerto Rico Department of Justice Is Seeking An Independent Investigation Into Ricardo Rosselló

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The Puerto Rico Department of Justice Is Seeking An Independent Investigation Into Ricardo Rosselló

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Since Hurricane Irma and then its more vicious successor, Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico hasn’t had a moment of peace. Two years since those devastating hurricanes came the recovery period— and it seemed that with all the progress that was made, there was a suspicious underlying. We knew that there were funds being withheld at the government level from the Trump Administration, but then came news of corruption from the local level. Puerto Rico was once again in turmoil, this time with its lawmakers. Then once the fraud was rooted out (thanks to the people who demanded it) came the earthquakes. Now, Puerto Rico is once again in a period of unsettledness. 

Just when we thought his issues were over, Puerto Rico’s Department of Justice is seeking to investigate former governor Ricardo Rosselló.

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Last summer, Ricardo Rosselló resigned from his role as governor of Puerto Rico after people on the island demanded it. While it was revealed that Rosselló had been involved in inappropriate chats, he was also involved in possible corruption. The Department of Justice has acquired an independent prosecutor to investigate not just Rosselló but several people he chatted with via the Telegram app. At the center of this investigation is not to disclose what was said — because we do know that information, and we’ll get to that later — but instead to discover possible illegalities that Rosselló and others committed while in office. 

On Jan. 10, the Department of Justice tweeted the details over the preliminary inquiry.

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One of the concerns is whether Rosselló conducted illegal transactions that could be “conflicts of interest and violations of the law,” NBC reports. 

“They examined the contents of the group chat, and as part of the investigation, they issued 45 citations to multiple witnesses and over 60 subpoenas to secure documents and information,” DOJ Secretary Denisse Longo Quiñones said in her statement. “In the course of these appointments, participants were asked to show up and deliver their cellphones for registration.” She added, “The Department of Justice has fully complied with its responsibility to complete a preliminary investigation that allows the Office of Independent Special Prosecutors to use its own criteria to determine whether they will accept the recommendation.”

While the Department of Justice has requested an investigation, now it’s up to the Office of Independent Special Prosecutors to present the charges against Rosselló and possibly others if they find illegal actions. 

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As of now, Rosselló is in the clear. It is only after the investigation is concluded will the public know for sure if Rosselló was part of any sort of corruption or if the chats that were disclosed just showed their inappropriateness. 

To recap, Rosselló’s words were more than just wrong. They were simply appalling. We expect this sort of language from President Donald Trump, but not anyone else. 

Last year, Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism revealed the chat between Rosselló and his staff (which included a total of 889 pages) in which he disrespected high profile officials and entertainers. 

In Rosselló’s chat concerning San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz, Christian Sobrino Vega, then Puerto Rico’s chief fiscal officer, said: “I am salivating to shoot her.” Rosselló responded by saying, “You’d be doing me a grand favor.” 

Rosselló also said that Yulín Cruz was “off her meds” after she expressed interest in running for governor. “Either that, or she’s a tremendous HP,” which is an acronym in Spanish that means “son/daughter of a bitch.”

Sobrino Vega also went on to disrespect singer Ricky Martin. “Nothing says patriarchal oppression like Ricky Martin,” Sobrino Vega wrote in the group chat. “Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist that he f—- men because women don’t measure up. Pure patriarchy.”

But the issue here is not so much what Rosselló said but rather if he misused funds.

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With so much talk about how Trump was withholding funds (he still is by the way), the money that was being made available could have been used in other places and not where it was needed the most. The Center for Investigative Journalism disclosed that some federal money could have been used to conduct partisan work. The investigation shows that Rosselló misused federal funds for his own purposes instead of distributing it in areas that desperately needed it. The investigation will find out if that conduct was done so legally or illegally. 

READ: The Governor Of Puerto Rico Was Caught In A Chat Using Grotesque Homophobic And Sexist Language And The Entire Island Is Calling Him To Resign In Massive Protests