Peru orders Mexican ambassador to leave country in latest escalation of tensions

MEXICO CITY/LIMA — Peru declared the Mexican ambassador in Lima “persona non grata” and ordered him to leave the country on Tuesday, the Peruvian foreign minister announced, in the latest escalation of tensions between the two nations after Peru sacked Pedro Castle as president.

The abrupt order, a harsh measure in the world of diplomacy, gives Mexico’s envoy to the South American country just 72 hours to leave.

The Peruvian government’s decision came hours after Mexico’s top diplomat announced that his country had granted asylum to Castillo’s family, who faces rebellion charges behind bars after attempting what critics have called a coup last month. December 7th.

The Peruvian Foreign Ministry published on social networks that the expulsion of the Mexican ambassador, Pablo Monroy, was due to “repeated statements by the highest authorities of that country about the political situation in Peru”, a thinly veiled reference to the support that the president of Mexico has provided the also leftist Castillo. since his removal by a landslide vote of legislators and his subsequent arrest.

Mexico’s foreign minister took to Twitter on Tuesday night to criticize Monroy’s expulsion, calling it “unjustified and reprehensible.”

Last week, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador heavily criticized last week the dismissal of Castillo as undemocratic, noting that it continues to recognize Castillo as the legitimate leader of Peru.

Speaking at a press conference earlier in the day, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said the government was negotiating a safe-conduct for Castillo’s family, who was inside the Mexican embassy in Lima.

Ana Cecilia Gervasi, Peru’s foreign minister, announced later Tuesday that the safe-conduct for Castillo’s wife and the couple’s two children had been formally approved.

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Neither the Mexican nor the Peruvian authorities offered a schedule of when Lilia Paredes, Castillo’s wife, or their children will travel to Mexico.

Last week, the government of Mexico, along with Argentina, Bolivia and Colombia, led by the left, issued a joint statement declaring Castillo a victim of “undemocratic harassment.”

Days later, the week-long government of President Dina Boluarte, who previously served as Castillo’s vice president, summoned Peru’s ambassadors home for consultations over what she called unacceptable interference in the country’s internal affairs.

Separately Tuesday, lawmakers approved a key first step in Boluarte’s push for early elections, with 93 in favor and just 30 against. The proposal would bring the elections forward to April 2024, two years before the elections currently scheduled for 2026.

Shortly after his attempt to dissolve Congress, Castillo himself tried to flee to the Mexican Embassy, ​​but was stopped by police before arriving.

Also on Tuesday, a Peruvian court struck down a request by prosecutors to bar Paredes from leaving the country. She is under investigation for alleged involvement in a money laundering network that could also implicate Castillo.

“Mexico is harboring the corrupt,” Peruvian opposition lawmaker María del Carmen Alva told reporters on Tuesday.

López Obrador has often said that his government prioritizes nonintervention in the internal affairs of other nations, but has deviated from that principle when it comes to perceived ideological allies in Latin America.

Castillo will remain in pretrial detention for 18 months, after a judicial panel approved the prosecution’s request for the extension while they investigate charges of rebellion and conspiracy against the former rural teacher who won a hard-fought election last year under the banner of the marxist movement. Free Peru Party.

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