Peru pulls ambassador from Honduras amid regional criticism

Peru has struggled with diplomatic isolation as left-wing governments criticise its crackdown on protesters calling for the president to resign.

Protestors in Peru
Demonstrators march against Peruvian President Dina Boluarte, who has faced criticism over a security crackdown that has killed 56 protesters [Martin Mejia/AP Photo]

Peru has withdrawn its ambassador from Honduras, as Peru’s crackdown on protesters draws criticism from left-wing governments across Latin America.

In a social media post on Thursday, Peru’s foreign ministry stated that it was pulling Ambassador Jorge Raffo out of Honduras due to the country’s “unacceptable interference” in Peru’s internal affairs.

“As a consequence of the position adopted by Honduras, bilateral relations with said country will be maintained, indefinitely, at the level of charge d’affaires,” the foreign ministry said on Twitter.

Leftist leaders from countries such as Mexico, Honduras, Bolivia and Colombia have criticised the government of Peruvian President Dina Boluarte as security forces use lethal force against protesters calling for her removal from office.

About 56 people have been killed as the government steps up efforts to contain the protests, which began on December 7, when former President Pedro Castillo attempted to dissolve Peru’s Congress as the legislature met to vote on his impeachment. Castillo’s move was widely decried as illegal, and he was impeached and arrested.

Protests over his detention — spurred forward by poor, rural Peruvians who see Castillo as a victim of a corrupt establishment — have called for the removal of Boluarte, who was sworn in after Castillo’s impeachment.

Lawmakers allied with Castillo in the legislature submitted a motion for Boluarte’s impeachment this week. On Tuesday, thousands of protesters took to the streets in the capital city of Lima and were met with tear gas and pellets, despite Boluarte’s call for an easing of tensions earlier that day.

Speaking at the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Argentina this week, Honduran President Xiomara Castro called Boluarte’s presidency a “coup d’etat”.

“We condemn the coup d’etat in Peru and the aggression to which the Peruvian people are subjected,” Castro said. “Our solidarity [is] with the legitimate elected president, Pedro Castillo, and we demand his immediate release.”

Her concerns were echoed by other Latin American leaders at CELAC, including Chilean President Gabriel Boric, who said there is “an urgent need for a change in Peru because the result of the path of violence and repression is unacceptable”.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador likewise pushed for an “end to the repression” in Peru during his appearance at CELAC. He has been critical of the current Peruvian government and has called Castillo the rightful leader of the country, offering the former president and his family refuge in Mexico.

In December, Peru declared the Mexican envoy “persona non grata” and ordered him to leave the country.

In a statement similar to the one withdrawing its ambassador from Honduras, Peru’s foreign ministry said that the decision to expel Mexico’s envoy came amid “repeated statements from the highest authorities of that country regarding the political situation in Peru”.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters