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.

Credit: @AmirTaheri4 / Instagram

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.

Credit: @CBarreraDiaz / Instagram

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

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

US Prosecutors Allege That Honduran President Hernández Said He Wanted to ‘Shove Drugs Up the Noses of Gringos’

Things That Matter

US Prosecutors Allege That Honduran President Hernández Said He Wanted to ‘Shove Drugs Up the Noses of Gringos’

Photo via Getty

They say the truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case, that saying happens to be true. New reports from federal prosecutors in New York have come out that implicate Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández in drug trafficking, embezzlement, and fraud.

For years, Honduras and the United States have publicly touted themselves as partners in global the war on drugs. But it seems that, privately, President Hernández felt differently.

Prosecutors allege that Hernández said that he wanted to “shove the drugs right up the noses of the gringos”.

Federal prosecutors say that Hernández “said that he wanted to make the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration think that Honduras was fighting drug trafficking, but that instead he was going to eliminate extradition.”

The allegations against President Hernández are part of a larger drug trafficking case prosecutors have against, Geovanny Fuentes, a prolific Honduran trafficker whom authorities arrested in Miami.

Fuentes alleges that President Hernandez accepted bribes in exchange for protecting a cocaine laboratory and drug shipments headed towards the U.S. They say President Juan Orlando Hernández used his nation’s armed forces to protect huge shipments of cocaine in exchange for hefty bribes.

The case also alleges that Hernandez funneled aid money from the U.S. to non-governmental organizations.

The Honduran president isn’t explicitly named in the documents, but is instead referred to as “co-conspirator 4”. But the documents reference his political position as well as his relationship to his brother, Juan Antonio Hernández, who was also convicted of drug smuggling in 2019.

It’s worth mentioning that the 2019 case against Hernández’s brother also named President Hernández as a co-conspirator. That case alleged that President Hernández had accepted approximately $1 million in bribes from El Chapo.

President Hernández is denying the allegations and claiming that they are retaliations by cartel lords for his hardline stance against drug trafficking.

Recently, his office tweeted out: “The claim that Pres. Hernández supposedly accepted drug money from Geovanny Daniel Fuentes Ramirez, or gave protection or coordination to drug traffickers is 100% false, and appears to be based on lies of confessed criminals who seek revenge and to reduce their sentences.”

But at home, Hondurans seemed to have lost faith in their president. In fact, many are suspicious of his shady connections and seemingly never-ending scandals. Some Hondurans are reportedly worried that President Hernández may try to “illegally extend” his time in office in order to avoid prosecution by the United States”.

As of now, the prospects of him being prosecuted by the Trump administration are dubious at best.

Hernández and Trump have historically had a cozy relationship based on how fervently the Honduran president supported Trump’s strict immigration policies.

“[Indictment] will probably depend on the political will or political decision of the incoming Biden administration,” said InSight Crime senior investigator Hector Silva to Vice.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Peru Is In Crisis As The Country Searches For A New President Amid Protests And A Police Crackdown

Things That Matter

Peru Is In Crisis As The Country Searches For A New President Amid Protests And A Police Crackdown

ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images

Peru is facing one of the greatest crises the nation has faced. Just as the country seemed to be emerging from the worst of its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has entered a severe political crisis.

In less than a week, the country is on the verge of seeing its third president – if legislators can find someone able and willing to take the job. In the meantime, protesters are making their voices heard in cities all across the country and police are using violence and oppression to silence them.

For a country that was turning the bend on the pandemic, how exactly did Peru end up crashing into one crisis from another?

Peru’s interim-President has resigned just days after assuming the office.

Peruvians woke up on Monday morning still wondering who would be their new head of state after lawmakers failed overnight to name a replacement to become the country’s third president in a week.

It was less than 24 hours earlier that the country’s interim leader Manuel Merino was forced to resign. Following a week of protests against the removal of former President Martín Vizcarra, police responded with increased force over the weekend.

Saturday’s protests in Lima, which are mostly being led by young Peruvians, were largely peaceful but clashes broke out towards the evening between police and protesters. Police reportedly fired tear gas and shotgun pellets to repel demonstrators, some of whom had thrown fireworks and stones. Two students, Jack Pintado, 22, and Inti Sotelo, 24, were killed in the protests.

Politicians immediately called for Merino’s resignation following the violent crackdown. In fact, twelve of his own ministers (of his recently appointed cabinet) resigned in protest against police brutality and his handling of the crisis.

“I want to let the whole country know that I’m resigning,” Merino said in a televised address.

It’s still not clear who will be selected to take over the country until elections can be held in April.

Credit: Roberto Agn / Getty Images

On Sunday, legislators failed to approve Rocío Silva-Santisteban, a leftist human rights defender, as the next interim leader – even though he was the only name put forward for consideration.

The country’s fragmented and unpopular legislature will vote again on Monday when another name will be on the list: lawmaker Francisco Sagasti, a 76-year-old industrial engineer and former World Bank official.

Peru’s political upheaval adds to the uncertainty facing the country as it was already hit devastatingly hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many fear that the ongoing crisis will lead to the worst economic contraction the country has seen in more than a century.

The political crisis started just last week when the elected president was impeached and removed from office.

It was just last week that the nation’s elected leader – ex-President Martín Vizcarra – was impeached and removed from office by Congress over allegations of corruption.

Since taking office in March 2018, Vizcarra was embroiled in a bitter battle with Congress, which is made up of rival parties. During his presidency, he worked to combat corruption throughout the country’s legislature. Half of the lawmakers are under investigation or indictment for alleged crimes including money laundering and homicide.

And as president, he enjoyed support among the public and voters but it was ultimately the allegations of bribery that brought him down. He has denied allegations that he accepted bribes worth 2.3 million soles ($640,000) when he was governor of the southern Moquegua region.

The former president has asked the country’s highest court to weigh in. “It can’t be that the institution that got us into this political crisis, that has for five days paralyzed Peru, with deaths, is going to give us a solution, choosing the person who they best see fit,” Vizcarra said, according to The Associated Press.

The country was just emerging from what seemed the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images

Many are concerned about the country’s short and long-term future, as a growing political and constitutional crisis seems likely. At the beginning of the pandemic, Peru imposed one of the earliest and strictest lockdowns in Latin America to stop the spread of coronavirus – but has still seen cases rise rapidly.

It has so far reported nearly 935,000 infections and more than 35,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University – making it the country with the third highest rate of deaths per 100,000 people in the world.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com