Guatemala City (AFP) – Former Guatemalan president Alvaro Arzu, whose government signed a peace treaty ending the country’s brutal 36-year civil war, died Friday aged 72.
The ex-president and current mayor of the Central American country’s capital died in hospital after suffering a heart attack while playing golf, city councilor Rosa Maria Botran confirmed.
In December 1996, Arzu’s government and the guerrilla Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (URNG) signed a peace accord ending the 1960-1996 civil war. The conflict left 200,000 dead and disappeared, most of them from military repression.
The treaty focused mainly on the recognition as full citizens of indigenous Guatemalans, who account for 60 percent of the population, and the bolstering of civilian power to the detriment of the army.
“Guatemala has lost a great man who dedicated his life to service. Statesman, leader and a true friend,” President Jimmy Morales wrote in a tribute on Twitter.
Arzu was a prominent and controversial political figure who was elected mayor of Guatemala City five times.