In Peru, Supporters Mourn Ex-Leader Garcia After Suicide

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Large crowds on Friday gathered in the Peruvian capital for the funeral procession of former President Alan Garcia, who killed himself after authorities arrived at his home to arrest him for alleged involvement in a corruption case.

Mourners carried Garcia’s coffin through the streets of Lima ahead of the cremation of a man who twice led the nation. His first term in the 1980s was marred by financial chaos and rebel violence, but he earned a chance at political redemption when Peruvians returned him to office in 2006.

Supporters of Peru's late President Alan Garcia chant slogans during his funeral procession in Lima, Peru, April 19, 2019.
Supporters of Peru’s late President Alan Garcia chant slogans during his funeral procession in Lima, Peru, April 19, 2019.

The memorial for Garcia, a powerful orator who was both charismatic and polarizing, included a wake at the headquarters of the party that he once led, the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance.

Luciana Garcia Nores, Garcia’s daughter, read a note said to have been written by her father before he turned a gun on himself. In the note, he said he had fulfilled his political mission despite efforts to “criminalize” him over the decades, and that he was leaving his body in a show of “contempt” for his adversaries.

There was bitterness among some followers who believed the former president had been hounded into taking his own life.

Ricardo Pinedo, secretary to the former leader, said Garcia’s critics “will live chained by their hatred, and that’s how they’ll die.”

People carry the coffin of Peru's late President Alan Garcia through the street during his funeral procession in Lima, Peru, April 19, 2019.
People carry the coffin of Peru’s late President Alan Garcia through the street during his funeral procession in Lima, Peru, April 19, 2019.

Adding to the grief, Peruvian police said a bus carrying Garcia supporters to the funeral crashed early Friday on the outskirts of Lima, killing eight people and injuring more than 40.

Garcia, 69, had been under investigation for allegedly taking payments from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht during work on the city’s metro a decade ago. Odebrecht has admitted to doling out nearly $800 million to politicians throughout the region in exchange for state contracts.

All but one of Peru’s living elected former presidents are suspected of involvement in the Odebrecht scandal.

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