Alvaro Arzu, who as Guatemala’s president signed a 1996 peace accord to end the country’s long-running civil war and later became mayor of the capital, died April 27 in Guatemala City. He was 72.
He had a heart attack while playing golf with friends and died at a hospital, said Rosa Maria Bolanos, a Guatemala City official.
Mr. Arzu served as Guatemala’s president from 1996 to 2000 and was instrumental in reaching an agreement with a guerrilla group to end the country’s 36-year civil war, during which 250,000 people died or disappeared.
In 2001, a member of his security team, Byron Lima, was convicted along with two other former military officers of the 1998 killing of Juan Jose Gerardi, a Catholic bishop. Mr. Arzu was investigated for providing support to Lima but was not charged.
Alvaro Enrique Arzu Yrigoyen was born March 14, 1946, into a wealthy family in Guatemala City.
He was director of Guatemala’s tourism commission before he was first elected mayor of Guatemala City in 1982. That election was quickly nullified after a military coup brought Efrain Rios Montt to power. Rios Montt, who died April 1, was later charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for atrocities committed during Guatemala’s civil war.
Mr. Arzu was elected mayor again in 1985 and served five years, winning high marks for his integrity and efficiency in fighting corruption and improving the city’s infrastructure.
After a single term as president, he returned to local politics in Guatemala City. He was elected mayor of the capital city five times and had held office steadily since 2004.
Last year, prosecutors accused Mr. Arzu of campaign finance violations by having companies funnel money through his Unionist party, but as the sitting mayor he was immune from prosecution.
He was married twice and had several children.