The former president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, on Wednesday, May 24, condemned the Chilean government’s decision to support Peru’s de facto government in demanding the transfer of the pro tempore presidency of the Pacific Alliance. Morales pointed out that the decision was especially concerning because it had come at a time when the Peruvian Congress had approved the entry of US troops for training activities in the country.
“We are very concerned about the decision of the president of Chile, brother Gabriel Boric, to support the illegal and illegitimate government of Dina Boluarte for the pro tempore presidency of the Pacific Alliance just when the US military intervention in Peru has been authorized,” said Morales in a tweet on Wednesday morning.
“It seems that the president of Chile has forgotten that [former president of Chile Salvador] Allende was a victim of CIA interventionism. The presence of the US Armed Forces in Peruvian territory corresponds to the interference plan of the Southern Command to usurp the natural resources of the region, especially lithium, gold and freshwater. The authorization of the entry of these troops is an attack against peace in Latin America,” Morales added.
Morales’ statement came two days after the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile, Gloria de la Fuente, stated on behalf of the Boric government that Peru should assume the temporary presidency of the regional trade bloc.
“Our government, through its Foreign Ministry, has been very clear about our position regarding the Pacific Alliance. We believe that indeed the pro tempore presidency corresponds to Peru. We advocate that there be an understanding between our countries that will effectively allow this [issue] to be smoothed out in the best possible way,” said De la Fuente after a meeting, held on May 22 in Lima, with the Peruvian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ignacio Higueras.
Currently, the rotating presidency of the Pacific Alliance -an entity that brings together Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru- is in the hands of Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). It was scheduled to be transferred to Peru in January. However, President AMLO refused to hand it over to Boluarte, insisting that “for Mexico, she is not legally and legitimately the president of Peru.”
Since the legislative coup against former progressive president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, and his illegal arrest in December 2022, President AMLO, on several occasions, has explicitly condemned the Boluarte government for violating Castillo’s political rights as well as the human rights of hundreds of thousands of Peruvians who took to the streets demanding her resignation. He has called on Boluarte “to resign from the presidency because she is usurping that position and to get Pedro Castillo out of jail.”
On Monday, May 22, the Peruvian Congress, where the right-wing parties have a majority, declared President AMLO a ‘persona non grata’ and banned him from setting foot in the country. AMLO’s public statements criticizing Boluarte and supporting Castillo, his decision to grant asylum to Castillo’s family in Mexico and his refusal to hand over bloc’s presidency to Peru are some of the reasons that provoked the designation.
In January and February, the Peruvian Congress also declared Morales and Colombian President Gustavo Petro, ‘persona non grata’ and prohibited them from entering Peru due to their comments rejecting the coup against Castillo and the brutal repression unleashed against protesters in Peru.
In the past months, the Boluarte government has also announced the definitive withdrawal of the Peruvian ambassadors to Honduras, Mexico and Colombia, alleging that the statements made by their heads of state represent interference in Peruvian internal affairs. Peru has been maintaining bilateral relations with the countries through the chargé d’affaires.
The decision adopted last Friday by the Peruvian Congress to authorize the entry into the country of the US Armed Forces, from June 1 to December 31 of this year, “for cooperation and training tasks for the military and police of Peru,” has been condemned by various social and Indigenous organizations of Peru. Many have deemed it “a maneuver” of the US empire to consolidate Boluarte’s de facto regime, and through it, take control of the country’s large copper and lithium reserves.
It is worth noting that in April, the Boluarte government announced its plans to privatize lithium mining in Peru, marking contrast to Castillo’s proposal to nationalize it. Minister of Energy and Mines Óscar Vera announced that the government would soon grant permits to a Canadian mining subsidiary for lithium exploration in the southern region of Puno, near the border with Bolivia. He also reported that the authorities were working to reduce license approval time for copper mining projects from about two years to about six months.