This Monday, May 22, the Peruvian Congress declared the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, persona non grata. AMLO is the second head of state to be repudiated by the Peruvian legislature, with Colombian president Gustavo Petro having suffered a similar fate in February 2023.
The public statements made by both presidents regarding the political and social situation in Peru is the major factor in provoking the designations. In February, the Colombian president had remarked that the Peruvian police “march like Nazis against their people”, in reference to the repression and assassinations of demonstrators.
The de facto government’s anger with AMLO, originated in December, directly after the coup against President Pedro Castillo. The Mexican president not only supported Castillo, but also accelerated the steps taken at the Mexican embassy in the country for the withdrawal of Mexican citizens as well as Castillo’s own family members, who after the legislative coup were granted asylum in the country. In view of Mexico’s position, the Executive, already under the control of Boluarte, decided to expel the Mexican ambassador Pablo Monroy.
After the Peruvian Congress condemned him last Monday, AMLO declared: “Thank you very much, thank you very much [for declaring me persona non grata], I would feel very bad if those legislators and the lady in power gave me an award or applauded me, maybe I would feel ashamed.”
“The people of Mexico are empowered, that is what the Peruvian people are lacking, to be empowered, and thank you very much for declaring me persona non grata, it is a stamp of pride,” he repeated this morning. “All our respect, admiration and affection to the people. We are well aware that [those who govern] are an elite, a rapacious minority: corrupt politicians, influence peddlers, sold-out journalists, panderer intellectuals. They are not the people.
Before the declaration of the designation against the Mexican president, the waters returned to a boiling point when Lopez Obrador justified his refusal to pass the pro tempore presidency of the Pacific Alliance to Peru, stating that Dina Boluarte: “is neither legal nor legitimate”. These words provoked the response of Foreign Minister Ana Cecilia Gervasi, who called this position “negligent”.
López Obrador had already spoken on the motion of the Peruvian legislature on the eve of the debate, saying that the Congress was “ill-advised”. “For me it is a mark of pride that those who act in this way declare me non grata. It is not correct,” said the president, who again insisted that Pedro Castillo, who has been detained since December, should be released. “They invent crimes for him, they fabricate crimes of corruption and so on. What should be done in Peru, besides releasing the president, is to reinstate him so that an agreement is made and general elections are called as soon as possible, and that it is the people of Peru who decide”.
The legislative document approved this Monday urges the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to carry out the “necessary actions” so that Lopez Obrador does not set foot on Peruvian soil.
There is another motion, promoted by a congresswoman of the right-wing Avanza País to sue the Mexican State before the International Court of Justice in The Hague for considering that it “flagrantly violates the Framework Agreement of the Pacific Alliance” and “affects the rights and expectations” of the Peruvian State.
Peru is experiencing months of increased violence. The coup against Pedro Castillo was followed by mass street mobilizations, mainly from peasant communities, historically the most relegated and those who felt most represented by Castillo. The State’s response to the popular clamor was police repression, responsible for dozens of deaths and human rights violations denounced by several social organizations and NGOs.
A report released by international human rights organization Amnesty International in February found that, “Since the beginning of the massive protests in different areas of the country in December 2022, the Army and National Police of Peru (PNP) have unlawfully fired lethal weapons and used other less lethal weapons indiscriminately against the population, especially against Indigenous people and campesinos (rural farmworkers) during the repression of protests, constituting widespread attacks.”
While the repression of protests continues in Peru, there is still no definite date for general elections to be held.
This is based on a report by Ana Dagorret of ARG Medios.