A break in sight? What can happen with the ‘cooling’ of relations between Peru and Mexico

Mexican diplomacy has had a ‘strike’ in Peru. Lima’s ultimatum for Mexican ambassador Pablo Monroy to leave the Andean country is the most forceful gesture made by President Dina Boluarte against another government in the region, in the barely two weeks of her administration.

The expulsion sets a milestone in relations between the two countrieswhich although they narrowed in the last year during the administration of Pedro Castillo, entered into a series of tensions after the president was vacated from office and relieved by Boluarte.

The Peruvian Foreign Ministry alleges that the express departure of the Mexican ambassador is due to “the repeated expressions of the highest authorities of that country about the political situation in Peru.” For Lima, there is interference in the accusations that have been made from Mexico about the political crisis that the South American country is experiencing, where the repression of the protests in favor of Castillo has caused more than twenty deaths.

After the decision, the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador indicated that the return of its ambassador was fulfilled to “protect his security and physical integrity”, suggesting that the life of the diplomat in Peruvian territory could be at risk.

“I find that unfounded and reprehensible decision. The conduct of our ambassador has been attached to the law and the principle of non-intervention. Mexico will not change his position,” added Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard early Wednesday morning.

Although the expulsion does not imply the closure of the embassy – which will now be in charge of the first secretary Karla Tatiana Ornelas Loera – it does send a strong message to the rest of the countries in the region that still do not explicitly recognize the Boluarte government.

Chronology of a break

Although abrupt, Peru’s decision is not unexpected. Already two weeks ago, when Boluarte assumed power, there was a first fracture that showed López Obrador’s differences with the Government that he assumed after Castillo’s vacancy.

The departure of the rural teacher occurred on the eve of the Pacific Alliance summit to be held in Lima, for which Boluarte said that he would receive López Obrador with “open arms” to receive the bloc’s pro tempore presidency. The proposal was responded by Mexico with the suspension of the appointment.

In parallel, the Mexican president confirmed that the day Castillo was arrested he had authorized the ambassador in Lima to open the doors of the diplomatic headquarters for him. However, the deposed president was never able to get there.

López Obrador did not stop there. His administration repudiated the situation in the Andean country, mobilized his ambassador to meet with Castillo at the place where he was imprisoned, and accused his political detractors of the president of having “harassed” him to the point of causing his downfall. .

Thus, Mexico was the first country in the region to take a frontal stand against what happened in Peru, after Castillo’s failed attempt to dissolve Congress and decree an emergency government. The reaction of the opposition was to accuse the maestro rondero of carrying out a “coup d’état”, in which the Armed Forces did not even participate.

endorsements and defections

Countries such as Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Bolivia and Argentina have joined Mexico’s position, although López Obrador has kept the lead in a two-way game: on the one hand, raising respect for sovereignty, and on the other , describing what happened in Lima as “persecution” against a president elected by popular vote.

The support for Castillo was even stronger after a statement signed by Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina and Mexico, which also demanded respect for the will of the people.

Within the so-called regional “progressivism”, only Chile refused to adhere to the position in favor of Castillo. Santiago’s position was to adhere to the discourse that the vacated president had transgressed the constitutional order and establish ties with the new administration, like the rest of the governments of the South American right.

The region has been divided into two clearly differentiated blocs with respect to the Peruvian situation, which seems far from being resolved as long as the repression of the protests demanding Castillo’s release continues.

In this way, in two weeks, the region has been divided into two clearly differentiated blocs with respect to the Peruvian situation, which seems far from being resolved as long as the repression of the protests demanding the release of Castillo, the departure of Boluarte, the call for new elections and the dissolution of Congress.

And now that?

For now, the weight of the expulsion of the Mexican ambassador is more political than administrative. The diplomatic headquarters will continue to provide consular services, but the decision puts nations on alert that are aligned with the position of López Obrador.

In this particular, the figure of Gustavo Petro stands out, who not only joined the statement, but also openly criticized the inaction of the Inter-American System to guarantee respect for Castillo’s rights. His position earned him harsh words from the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, which expressed its “deep malaise” to the Colombian president.

For now, Lima has called the ambassadors who signed the joint communiqué for consultations, while it intensifies its efforts at the diplomatic level to obtain international support, despite the complaints of repression of the protests and the legitimacy questions against the acting president.

López Obrador regrets that the US endorses "all the tricky maneuver" in Peru to vacation Castillo

At the moment, Mexico says that it does not plan to break relations with Peru, but from Lima, the new premier Alberto Otárola threw another dart at López Obrador, accusing him of promoting the deterioration of “historic political and cultural ties over many years.” .

Otárola’s call to the Mexican president was emphatic: “Stop referring to Peru (…) We are not going to allow people who have no relationship with the Government of Peru to demonstrate, causing incessant interference in the internal affairs of the country” .

However, the issue is not settled. Yesterday López Obrador announced that he intended to hold a conversation about Peru with his US counterpart, Joe Biden, because he believes that Washington’s hand played a key role in the political crisis.

“The facts were just unfolding. [en Perú]the first statement is from the US ambassador. [Lisa Kenna] already recognizing the decision of Congress”, denounced the Mexican president. In the same way, he recalled that in moments of “more confrontation and repression”, the North American diplomat visited Boluarte in the Government Palace: “That’s completely interventionist.“.

López Obrador’s statements make it clear that Otárola’s call will not be followed. In addition, while Castillo remains imprisoned, the population mobilized and the bilateral relationship tense, Mexico now has the wife of the president vacated from Peru and her two children in its territory, after intense negotiations for them to obtain asylum.

What’s more, when asked yesterday if he would stop commenting on the Andean country, after the request of the Boluarte administration, López Obrador was clear: “The case of Peru is very unfortunate. It is a country with a sister people that, since Many years ago, at least six, they have had five presidents. Imagine this situation. It is fundamentally due to the interests of a group that dominates and that does not allow the Peruvian people to participate in public life and exercise their rights so that there is a genuine democracy”. Silence, for now, is not an option.

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