Peru definitively recalls its ambassador to Colombia

Lima, Mar 30 (EFE).- Peru’s government on Thursday finalized the definitive recall of its ambassador to Colombia, accusing that nation’s leftist president, Gustavo Petro, of interfering in its national affairs.

A day after Peru’s Foreign Ministry said Ambassador Felix Denegri would be withdrawn due to Petro’s “meddling” in the country’s internal politics and “distortion of the reality” behind Peruvian ex-President Pedro Castillo’s congressional ouster last December, a resolution published in the official gazette confirmed that announcement.

The resolution signed by Peruvian President Dina Boluarte and Foreign Minister Ana Cecilia Gervasi has downgraded diplomatic relations between the two neighbors to the level of charge d’affaires.

In initially announcing the decision, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Petro’s attitude and his “continuous meddling expressions” had severely damaged a bilateral relationship historically characterized by “friendship, cooperation and mutual respect.”

Peru’s Congress in February had already declared Petro “persona non grata” over remarks in which he said Peruvian security forces “march like Nazis” against anti-government protesters, a reference to the dozens of people who have died at the hands of security forces – mainly in heavily indigenous southern Peru – over the past three and a half months.

Petro also was declared unwelcome due to his refusal to recognize Boluarte as Peru’s legitimate head of state.

During this month’s Ibero-American Summit in the Dominican Republic, Petro said the person who should be representing Peru at that gathering is Castillo, a fellow leftist who was removed from office and arrested for attempting on Dec. 7 to dissolve Congress and begin preparations for a constitutional convention.

He is currently under an 18-month preventive detention order on charges of rebellion.

On March 9, a Peruvian Supreme Court judge ruled that the 53-year-old former schoolteacher can be held in preventive detention for a separate term of 36 months while prosecutors build a case against him for corruption.

“He should be here today,” Petro said last Saturday in Santo Domingo in the presence of Gervasi. “They removed him in a coup.”

Peru’s foreign minister fired back, saying that Castillo was not in attendance because he attempted a “self-coup” when he tried to dissolve Congress ahead of a third attempt by opposition lawmakers to impeach him.

Peru also recalled its ambassador to Mexico in February after that nation’s leftist president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, rejected the legitimacy of Boluarte, who had been Castillo’s vice president but was elevated to the highest office on Dec. 7.

Boluarte, whose disapproval rating stood at 77 percent earlier this month, is under investigation by Peruvian prosecutors for her alleged role in the deaths of demonstrators killed in clashes with security forces in recent months.



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