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Mexican president slams ouster of Castillo, says Peru ties “on hold“


2022-12-13T17:16:06Z

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo addresses the audience during the opening of the VII Ministerial Summit on Government and Digital Transformation of the Americas, in Lima, Peru on November 10, 2022. REUTERS/Sebastian Castaneda

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday slammed the removal of fellow leftist Pedro Castillo as Peru’s democratically elected president, and said relations with the South American country are now on hold.

Castillo was ousted last week after lawmakers in the opposition-controlled Congress voted to remove him from power after he attempted to rule by decree and dissolve Congress to avoid a third impeachment vote.

Lopez Obrador, who has been president since late 2018, was speaking at a regular news conference after the governments of Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia and Argentina on Monday jointly called for the protection of Castillo’s human and judicial rights.

“The will of the people who elected (Castillo) should be respected,” said Lopez Obrador, who has long argued he was robbed of the Mexican presidency in 2006 and 2012. “Recognizing that he won democratically and cannot be removed.”

Lopez Obrador, who says he pursues a policy of non-intervention in the affairs of other countries, said that the Peruvian constitution had an “anti-democratic flaw”.

The president said he would continue to regard Castillo as Peru’s leader until the matter was legally resolved.

“Relations are on hold, waiting to see what happens. Hopefully a democratic solution is sought,” he said.

Asked whether he acknowledged Dina Boluarte as Peru’s new president, Lopez Obrador did not answer directly. He instead argued that acts of recognition have “nothing to do with our foreign policy”, and pointed to past coups in Mexican history.

A judge in Peru ordered last week seven days of preliminary detention for Castillo while authorities investigate him for alleged “rebellion and conspiracy.”

Protests that have left at least seven dead – many of them teenagers – have exploded throughout Peru after Castillo’s removal. Demonstrators argue that Boluarte was not elected by the people and have been calling for the of closure of Congress and for new elections to take place. Boluarte on Monday offered a plan to bring elections forward by two years.