Peru declares Colombian president ‘persona non grata’

Lima, Feb 17 (EFE).- The Peruvian Congress Friday declared Colombia President Gustavo Petro “persona non grata” in response to his statements comparing the Peru police to “Nazis.”

The motion, which asked the government to assure Petro “does not enter the national territory,” received 72 votes in favor, 29 against, and seven abstentions.

The motion to embargo the Peruvian president referred to some statements Petro made last week to condemn the extensive deployment of police in the historic center of Lima in response to an anti-government demonstration.

“In Peru, (the police) march like Nazis against their own people, breaking the American Convention on Human Rights,” said Petro.

He has criticized the Peruvian armed forces for repressing the protests raging in the neighboring country for the past two months.

The Colombian president said the convention “does not apply only to left-wing governments.”

“The one who does that is double standards. It applies to all governments and that is our position,” he said.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Peruvian Congress, headed by conservative lawmaker María del Carmen Alva, approved the motion on Tuesday.

Alva said Petro’s statements were “regrettable” and “really shameful” that “cannot be allowed from a president of a brother country.”

On Friday, she told lawmakers that the Peruvian Congress was “defending the national police” in censuring Petro.

The motion rejected Petro’s “unacceptable” and “offensive” phrases against police, the Peruvian state, and “all the Jewish people” Petro had “trivialized the Holocaust.”

In January, the Peruvian government expressed its “strong protest against an act of interference” by Petro in the internal political affairs of Peru after the Colombian government condemned the forced eviction of hundreds of protesters at a university in Lima.

Petro did not recognize Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, who replaced elected president Pedro Castillo in December after police arrested the former president when he tried to dissolve Congress.

The Colombian president has repeatedly come out in defense of Castillo.

Anti-government protests in Peru have left at least 70 people dead.

Most of the 48 confirmed fatalities were of demonstrators who died at the hands of the security forces.

The protests erupted after the ouster of Castillo on Dec.7, hours after he tried to dissolve Congress and declare elections for delegates to a constitutional convention.

People in the south turned out in large numbers in 2021 to vote for the outsider Castillo, a schoolteacher of peasant origin who promised to address poverty.

He narrowly prevailed in a runoff against Keiko Fujimori, daughter of imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori. EFE


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