Arzú, Álvaro (Álvaro Enrique Arzú Irigoyen), 1946–2018, Guatemalan lawyer and political leader. He was director of the Guatemalan tourism office (1978–81) before he was first elected mayor of Guatemala City (1982), but a coup prevented him from taking office. He was elected again in 1985. In 1990 Arzú ran unsuccessfully for president as the candidate of the National Advancement party (1990). Named foreign minister (1991), he soon resigned in protest of President Jorge Serrano's decision to normalize relations with neighboring Belize, whose territory Guatemala long claimed. Running for president again in 1995, Arzú narrowly defeated Alfonso Portillo in the runoff (Jan., 1996). In Dec., 1996, following a purge of top military officers, he signed a peace accord with the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Union, ending the country's 36-year civil war. Arzú also oversaw improvements to the country's infrastructure and the privatization of public transport and utility companies. Following his term as president, Arzú won four terms as mayor of Guatemala City (2003, 2007, 2011, 2015). In 2017 he was investigated for alleged campaign finance violations, but was immune from prosecution while in office.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Guatemalan History: Biographies