On Wednesday March 29, Peru’s de-facto government, led by Dina Boluarte, announced the “definitive withdrawal” of its ambassador from Colombia following statements from Colombian President Gustavo Petro in support of ousted Peruvian President Pedro Castillo.
The Peruvian Foreign Ministry, in a statement, said that the decision was made in response to “the repetitive interventionist and offensive comments” from President Petro, arguing that he had been “distorting the reality” by ignoring what happened on December 7, 2022.
The decision came days after Petro lamented Castillo’s absence at the Ibero-American Summit. During the 28th Ibero-American Summit, which took place on March 24 and 25 in the Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Domingo, Petro said, “Today [Pedro Castillo] should have been here, [but] he is in prison. They took him out with a coup.”
On December 7, 2022, Castillo was ousted in a legislative coup and subsequently arrested, after he tried to dissolve Congress and rule by decree. He has since been imprisoned in the Barbadillo prison in Lima.
Since his forcible removal and illegal arrest, Petro has called several times for Castillo’s immediate release and criticized the Boluarte government for violating his political rights. Petro has also been vocal against the brutal repression unleashed by the Boluarte government against the tens of thousands of Peruvians who have been in the streets for the past three and a half months demanding her resignation, the closure of the right-wing dominated Congress, advanced general elections by the end of the year, and a referendum on a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution.
In February, the plenary of Congress, with 72 votes in favor, 29 against and 7 abstentions, approved a motion declaring Gustavo Petro a ‘persona non grata’ after he criticized the response of the Peruvian National Police to the ongoing social protests. The Parliament recommended the Interior and Foreign Ministries “carry out the necessary actions so that Gustavo Petro does not enter the national territory.”
The Peruvian Foreign Ministry added in the statement on Wednesday that Petro’s behavior has damaged the diplomatic relations between the neighboring countries.
In the past months, the Boluarte government also announced the definitive withdrawal of the Peruvian ambassadors to Honduras and Mexico due to similar statements made by Honduran President Xiomara Castro and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Peru has been maintaining bilateral relations with the countries through the chargé d’affaires.
Additionally, in January, the Peruvian Congress also declared former Bolivian President Evo Morales a ‘persona non grata’ and prohibited him from entering Peru, due to his comments rejecting the coup against Castillo.
The Boluarte government’s move to endanger diplomatic ties across the region has been widely condemned by social and progressive political leaders.