Álvaro Colom, former president of Guatemala, dies at 71

Álvaro Colom, former president of Guatemala, dies at 71

Álvaro Colom, former president of Guatemala, dies at 71

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Former Guatemala President Álvaro Colom, who ruled from 2008 to 2012 and supported a United Nations anti-corruption mission that later investigated him, died Monday, lawmakers from his get together introduced. He was 71.

“I deeply lament the loss of life of ex-President Colom, a person of profound democratic convictions and nice social sensibility,” stated Guatemalan lawmaker Orlando Blanco, chief of the center-left Nationwide Unity of Hope Celebration in Congress.

Present President Alejandro Giammattei expressed his condolences to Colom’s household and pals by way of Twitter. No explanation for loss of life was given.

Colom gained workplace in a runoff election in 2007, defeating retired Gen. Otto Pérez Molina. It was his third try for the presidency.

An industrial engineer, Colom was Guatemala’s first leftist president in additional than 50 years when he took workplace in January 2008, however stated he wished Guatemala to chart its personal path moderately than falling in with established leftist leaders like Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez on the time.

Colom had success in textiles and Guatemala’s entry into large-scale manufacturing by means of meeting crops generally known as maquiladoras in Spanish.

He entered workplace promising to scale back poverty after having labored with civil struggle refugees in remoted highlands. The struggle, which ran from 1960 to 1996, displaced tons of of 1000’s. He was an ordained Mayan minister and stated he would search steerage from the Mayan Elders Nationwide Council, a gaggle of non secular leaders.

Simply weeks earlier than the tip of his time period, Colom took credit score for hiring some 90,000 extra academics and bringing greater than one million kids again into the nation’s faculties. He stated his administration had constructed extra faculties and well being facilities. He additionally applauded Guatemala’s efforts to grab drug shipments transferring by means of the nation and arrest drug traffickers.

Colom additionally supported the U.N. Worldwide Fee Towards Impunity In Guatemala, higher recognized by its Spanish acronym CICIG. It had began work the yr earlier than he took workplace.

However in 2018, Colom was arrested, together with almost his total former Cupboard, in relation to a corruption investigation involving a bus concession.

The case centered on a public bus firm generally known as Transurbano. The federal government auctioned off 25-year concessions for Guatemala Metropolis bus routes, and the non-public firms that gained the contracts had been later exempted from taxes. The CICIG labored on the case with Guatemalan prosecutors.

Colom denied any wrongdoing and the case had not gone to trial. In 2021, the U.S. State Division included him in a report back to Congress on corrupt actors within the area for the bus scandal.

Pérez Molina, who gained workplace after Colom, was finally compelled from the presidency by one other CICIG investigation and sentenced to jail for corruption in December.

Colom had been married to politician Sandra Torres, who deliberate to contend for the presidency in Guatemala’s nationwide elections June 25. They’d divorced.

Late Monday, Torres wrote by way of Twitter, “Might the noble man who all the time held Guatemala in his coronary heart relaxation in peace.”

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