Peru’s diplomatic discussion grows as those sent to Mexico, Argentina summoned home

The diplomatic row over Peru deepened Thursday when the new foreign minister formally summoned home ambassadors from countries including Mexico and Argentina, which have criticized the recent ouster of former president Pedro Castillo.

The swift ouster of Castillo, who led the South American country for just 17 months, has reverberated far beyond Peru’s borders, with several leftist allies of the ousted leader rallying in support as deadly protests in the street they extend until their second week, with a declared state of emergency.

On Monday, four nations led by leftist presidents – Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico – signed a joint statement declaring Castillo a “victim of anti-democratic harassment”.

A bloc of leftist countries meeting in Havana, including Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua, also strongly backed the jailed Castillo, rejecting what they described as “the political framework created by right-wing forces.” .

Foreign Minister Ana Cecilia Gervasi, new to the post after President Dina Boluarte took over from Castillo last week, responded Thursday by summoning Peru’s ambassadors to Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico for a consultation.

Gervasi wrote in a post on Twitter that the inquiries “relate to interference in the internal affairs of Peru.”

He did not specify when the talks would take place.

Leftist Castillo, the son of rural farmers and a former teacher who won a narrow victory at the polls last year, was ousted by a landslide vote of lawmakers just hours after he ordered the dissolution of Congress in December. 7.

Peru’s constitution allows a president to shut down Congress, but only if lawmakers pass two no-confidence motions in the president’s cabinet, which did not happen.

Boluarte’s week-old administration, which he has said will be a transitional government, has been recognized by Chile’s leftist president, as well as Uruguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Canada and the United States.

Amid the diplomatic tussle, protesters angered by Castillo’s removal from office and subsequent arrest blocked roads on Thursday, despite the government declaring a state of emergency a day earlier, granting special powers to police and limiting freedoms, including the right of assembly.

So far, at least eight have died in the protests.

Meanwhile, judicial authorities are mulling keeping Castillo behind bars while the investigation into charges that he fomented a rebellion continues. The Supreme Court of Peru has until Friday to rule on the request for 18 months of preventive detention.

Castillo denies all charges and has stated that he remains the legitimate president of the country.

Local television footage on Thursday showed a line of dozens of vehicles stuck along a key coastal road south of Lima and hundreds of protesters placing stones on roads in the regions of Puno, Arequipa and the tourist center of Cuzco.

A major Peruvian union, the General Confederation of Workers, also intervened, calling for a “day of struggle” as protesters demand immediate elections, the shutdown of Congress, a constituent assembly to redraw the constitution and Boluarte’s resignation .

© Thomson Reuters 2022.

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