LIMA – Former Peruvian president Alan Garcia wrote a note before taking his own life to avoid prosecution on corruption charges, his daughter revealed ahead of his funeral on Friday.
“I have seen others in handcuffs, preserving their miserable existence, but Alan Garcia has no reason to suffer those injustices and circuses, so I leave to my children the dignity of my decisions, to my comrades a sign of pride, and my body as a demonstration of my contempt for my adversaries,” Luciana Garcia Nores said, reading aloud from her father’s note.
Garcia wrote that he had accomplished his political purpose by twice winning the presidency as the standard-bearer of the Peruvian Aprista Party (PAP), founded by his mentor, Victor Raul Haya de la Torre (1895-1979).
The 69-year-old Garcia, who governed Peru from 1985 to 1990 and again from 2006 to 2011, died Wednesday at Lima’s Casimiro Ulloa Hospital after shooting himself in the head when police came to his home to take into custody.
His family rejected the government’s offer of a state funeral for the former head of state, Instead, Garcia’s casket lay in state at PAP headquarters.
Luciana said that while her father left no instructions for his funeral, she was certain he would have wanted the wake to be held at the PAP’s House of the People, “with all of his comrades.”
In the letter, Alan Garcia denounced what he called politically motivated attempts to charge him with crimes.
“In this time of repeated rumors and hatreds that majorities believe are true, I have seen how (legal) proceedings are used to humiliate or harass, and not to find the truth,” he wrote.
Thousands of Peruvians, including politicians, public officials and PAP supporters, have come to the House of the People to pay their final respects to Garcia.
After the reading of the suicide note, the late politician’s youngest child, 14-year-old Federico, signed on top of his father’s casket the documents to register as a PAP member.
The funeral cortege then set out for a cemetery where Garcia was to be cremated in a private ceremony.
Prosecutors sought to try Garcia for allegedly taking bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
In December 2016, Odebrecht reached a settlement with the United States Justice Department in which the firm pleaded guilty to paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes to government officials around the world.
As part of the settlement, Odebrecht has been cooperating with prosecutors in the affected countries to bring corrupt officials to justice.
Peruvian Judge Juan Carlos Sanchez Balbuena ruled last fall that documents handed over by Odebrecht provided “sufficient elements” to support the accusations against Garcia.
Odebrecht executive Carlos Nostre told Peruvian prosecutors that the company paid up to $24 million in bribes to secure the contract to build Lima Metro’s Line 1 during Garcia’s 2006-2011 administration.