"I deeply regret the death of former President Colom. My condolences to his family and friends," Congressman Orlando Blanco said. The cause of Colom’s death is still unknown. In December 2020, however, his lawyer confirmed that he suffered from esophageal cancer.
Colom was an industrial engineer who graduated from the University of San Carlos (USAC), the only Guatemalan public college. In 2002, he founded the social democratic party National Union of Hope (UNE), with which he ran for president.
While he held office, he supported the work of the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a United Nations organization that fought between 2007 and 2019 State-backed crimes in this Latin American country.
CICIG processed Colom himself for irregularities in a US$35-million contract for public transport service signed during his administration. Colom denied the charges and paid bail to avoid pre-trial detention.
In 2021, the U.S. State Department included Colom in its list of corrupt and anti-democratic actors in the Northern Triangle and consequently banned him from entering the United States.
His former wife, Sandra Torres, who divorced Colom in 2011 to be able to register as a presidential candidate in that year’s elections, will run for president as a UNE candidate in the June 25 elections.