Ex-president who signed accord ending Guatemala’s war dies

Alvaro Arzu
The Associated Press

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Alvaro Arzu, Guatemala’s former president who signed the 1996 peace accord ending the country’s civil war and the current mayor of the capital, died Friday. He was 72.

Alfredo Brito, spokesman for President Jimmy Morales, confirmed his death to The Associated Press.

Guatemala City official Rosa Maria Bolanos told the newspaper Prensa Libre that Arzu was playing golf with friends and relatives when he suffered a heart attack. He was taken to a medical center, but did not survive.

Arzu was one of the country’s most influential politicians and was the mayor of Guatemala City at the time of his death. Arzu’s son is the president of Congress.

Last year, prosecutors accused Arzu of campaign finance violations in which companies funneled money through his Unionist party, but he was immune while holding elected office as mayor.

Arzu served as Guatemala’s president from 1996 to 2000. He helped broker the peace accords that ended the country’s 36-year civil war.

Morales, who counted Arzu as an ally, said via Twitter that “Guatemala has lost a great man who dedicated his life to service. Statesman, leader and true friend.”

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