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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is no secret that Latin American governments have forever been involved in the muddy waters of corruption and political scandals. It is pan de todos los dias to see governors, secretaries of state, diplomats and even presidents arrested, accused of either stealing citizens’ money or receiving bribes from companies or organized crime. Whole political apparatuses have fallen, as witnessed in Brazil, where two ex presidents, the iconic Lula and his successor, Dilma Rousseff, have been found guilty of corruption at the highest levels of government. It doesn’t matter on what end of the political spectrum a government: both leftists and conservatives
The former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo is the latest high profile Latin American politician to have been arrested for corruption charges. He was arrested on July 18 in the United States, and the process for his extradition has started.
First things first: so who is Alejandro Toledo?
Alejandro Celestino Toledo Manrique served as the 63rd President of Peru from 2001 to 2006. He won the election in April 2001, defeating former President Alan García. He was born in 1946 and like many Latin American politicians he did his postgrad studies in the United States. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of San Francisco. The beginning of his administration was met with enthusiasm by Peruvians. As Knowledge @ Wharton recalls: “Amidst great expectations, Alejandro Toledo became President of Peru in June 2001. His arrival in power put an end to 10 years of Alberto Fujimori’s authoritarian government and marked the beginning of a new democratic era”.
And second, you gotta know some facts about the company Odebrecht.
Odebrecht S.A. is a Brazilian conglomerate founded by Norberto Odebrecht, from Salvador in the State of Bahia. The company’s portfolio includes a list of diversified businesses in the fields of engineering, construction, chemicals and petrochemicals. The company has been facing legal problems since 2015, when it was revealed that Brazilian politicians had been receiving “irregular donations” also known as bribes, or mordidas pa los cuates. This led to a wider investigation that has involved politicians in Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela and, obviously, Peru.
In short, this company has bribed politicians that range from state ministers to legislators, mayors, governors and even presidents, as is the case of Alejandro Toledo.
As reported by The Times UK, the company has admitted guilt: “In 2016 Odebrecht, once one of the world’s biggest construction companies, admitted to the US justice department that it had paid about $800 million in bribes to politicians, officials and business figures in 12 countries.”
And this is why Toledo has been arrested
According to The Times UK, Toledo”is accused of receiving $20 million as part of a huge bribery scandal involving the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht”. Toledo was acting as a visiting scholar in Stanford University and he has appeared before a judge in San Francisco. The Peruvian government has requested an extradition. Toledo had fled to the United States in 2017 after being accused of receiving bribes. Toledo was accused by Odebrecht’s executive director in Peru, Jorge Barata, of receiving $20 million for hiring the company to build a motorway to Brazil. Todas unas joyitas los gobernantes.
So what now? Well, things will move slowly
Judicial processes are very, very slow. According to the Xinhua News Agency, Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio considers that the extradition process could take a year: “The official said he was basing the estimation on a similar case, in which Panama’s ex-president Ricardo Martinelli fled to Miami, U.S. state of Florida, to avoid facing justice”. In the meantime, Toledo will remain under the custody of United States authorities.
Toledo denies the charges against him and, as reported by CE Noticias Financieras , he has “stated on several occasions that everything is an attack by his enemies and is the victim of political persecution”. One of Toledo’s lawyers, Heriberto Benítez, told the N-Channel Toledo is the victim of “political persecution”. The Peruvian government will move cielo y tierra to get Toledo back to his home country. As CNN reports, Peruvian Justice Minister Vicente Zeballos has said: ““The government is engaged in a full-on fight against corruption.”
Four Peruvian ex presidents are now in jail or arrested: it takes a second to take that in! Another former president killed himself.
Imagine being a Peruvian and dealing with the fact that four of your most recent ex presidents of your country are in jail. The usual suspects are Alberto Fujimori, Toledo, Francisco Morales Bermúdez (a dictator), and Ollanta Humala, the country’s first indigenous president. It must be a tough pill to swallow: millions of people actually voted for these people, only to be betrayed.
The country has had to face one political shakeup after another, which makes foreign and local investors hesitant about spending money and generating jobs, which stalls the economy (this process is much more complex than this, of course, but we are putting it con peras y manzanas).
Another former president, Alan Garcia, died by suicide in April. CNN remembered his death covering the Toledo arrest: “Another former president, Alan Garcia, shot himself in the head to avoid arrest in April, in connection with alleged bribes from the Brazilian builder”
Are these arrests actually a sign of political and social progress?
However, it is not all bad news. The fact that justice is served even in the highest echelons of power speaks of a strong judiciary system, something that is rare in Latin America. In an opinion piece written by Sonia Golenberg for The New York Times she writes: “Peru is not more corrupt than other Latin American states. Nor are its courts a model of fairness and efficiency. But as overwhelming evidence of bribes taken by presidents across the political spectrum is emerging from abroad, Peruvian judges are under extreme pressure to react. As a consequence, the country’s discredited justice system is, for a change, gaining some credibility and independence”.
Social media users from other Latin American countries are demanding that their politicians also be arrested.
This Ecuadorian is asking when the former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, will follow a similar fate. Some of Correa’s closest collaborators, such as the former Vice President, Jorge Glass, was recently sentenced to six years in prison.
Mexicans are also asking nosotros cuando?
Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico’s most recent former president, has been implicated with Odebrecht. And the previous two presidents, Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon, also have cola que les pisen according to various media reports. The Mexican government has made some high profile arrests of former state governors, but expresidentes remain largely untouched.
Even Chileans are demanding justice.
This user is asking when former president Michelle Bachelet will be summoned by a court. When she was president, questions surrounded her family, particularly her son Sebastian Davalos and some allegedly shady real estate deals.
For the first time since 2007, Brazil has won the ultimate South American soccer tournament, Copa America. Brazil played against Peru in their home Maracaña stadium on Sunday, July 7 with a solid 3-1 victory. That small fact means something even bigger for Brazil. The country’s team has won the title every single time it has hosted the tournament. While some folks think that the tournament is rigged in Brazil’s favor, there were quite a few factors that were not in the winning team’s favor.
Neymar, arguably Brazil’s best player, had to sit out of the game due to an ankle injury.
Credit: naymarjr / Instagram
Neymar and his son sat very close to President Jair Bolsonaro, albeit on the sidelines. Fans have remarked on how upset Neymar looks to be benched. He had ruptured a ligament in his ankle just days before the game in a friendly match against Qatar last week.
Forward Gabriel Jesus, who scored for Brazil, was sent to the bench after a foul.
Credit: dejesusoficial / Instagram
With 20 minutes left in the game, Gabriel Jesus was sent to the bench for his second yellow card. That means that Brazil had ten players to Peru’s eleven, and still beat them.
“Brazil deserved the victory,” Peru coach Ricardo Gareca said.
Credit: lucasfigfoto / cbf_futebol / Instagram
“We played better than we did in the previous match. We have improved as a team,” an encouraged Gareca told reporters. “We still have to improve more, but we are on the right track.”
Neymar’s replacement, Everton, was named player of the final.
Credit: lucasfigfoto / cbf_futebol / Instagram
“I gave everything I had today,” said Everton. Nobody, not even coach Tite, could have imagined that Everton would even be playing in the final, let alone carry the team. You’ll see his head in the bottom left corner of the image above.
Argentina’s Lionel Messi publicly called the Copa América referees “corrupt.”
Credit: leomessi / Instagram
After a bizarre red card against Messi during the third-place playoff against Chile Saturday, he told reporters, “I feel a lot of anger because I think I did not deserve that red card because I think we were playing a very good game. We were ahead, but, as I said recently, unfortunately, there is a lot of corruption, the referees. We leave with the feeling that they did not allow us to be in the final, that we were ready for better.”
Defensive midfielder, Carlos Henrique Casemiro, had a classy response to Messi’s comments.
Credit: casemiro / Instagram
This Twitter user is throwing shade back at Messi for his comments. “Those with a mouth can say what they want. It’s not up to me to speak, it’s a delicate subject,” the soccer player told reporters. “It’s not for me to say if the refereeing was good. We need to congratulate Peru for the good Copa America they had.”
While Brazil is celebrating a victory, they’re also commemorating a historic loss against Germany.
Credit: @anapgeller / Twitter
Known on The Internet as #7x1Day, on July 8th, 2014, Brazil lost the FIFA World Cup to Germany in a disgraceful 7-1 loss. Germany scored four goals within the first six minutes of the game, and it got worse from there. At the last minute, Brazil scored a consolation goal but ultimately lost big. That game marked the end of a 62-match home unbeaten streak going back to the 1975 Copa América when they lost to Peru.
Of course, the Internet is doing its thing.
Credit: @TrollFootball / Twitter
Obviously, @TrollFootball is trolling us all with this screen grab from that infamous Germany-Brazil game. Latinos definitely came out to call BS on this claim. At the time, Germany’s jerseys looked pretty similar to Peru’s and have enjoyed a redesign.
Even Jesus is wearing a Brazil jersey now.
Credit: @BleacherReport / Twitter
And also, apparently, holding a gleaming trophy that’s shining brighter than Jesus himself! They say we create a God of our own understanding. This is how Rio’s God is looking–freshly outfitted and winning.
Felicidades a Brasil!!! 🇧🇷
Credit: @BiaFuracaoReal / Twitter
Brazil’s streets were flooded with fans after the victory, and we don’t think they’ve stopped partying since Sunday. Enjoy it!