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Latin American leaders call for protection of Peru’s ousted president

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LIMA, PERU: Peru's former President Pedro Castillo (2nd L) is seen inside a police car as he leaves the headquarters of the Prefecture, where Castillo is under detention in Lima, Peru on December 07, 2022. (John Reyes - Anadolu Agency)
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Dec 14, 2022 - 11:36 AM

BUENOS AIRES (AA) – The presidents of Argentina, Colombia, Bolivia and Mexico signed a joint statement Tuesday calling for the rights and health of Peru’s ousted President Pedro Castillo to be guaranteed and the “popular will” of the Peruvian people to be respected amid the volatile political situation in the country.

“The governments of the Argentine Republic, the Republic of Colombia, the United Mexican States and the Plurinational State of Bolivia express their deep concern over the recent events that resulted in the removal and detention of José Pedro Castillo Terrones, President of the Republic of Peru,” said the statement, which was signed by the leaders of the four countries — Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Colombian President Gustavo Petro and Bolivian President Luis Arce.

It said that from the day of Castillo’s election, he was “the victim of undemocratic harassment” and went on to call for “all the actors involved in the previous process to prioritize the will of the citizens that was decided at the polls.”

“We urge those who make up the institutions (in Peru) to refrain from reversing the popular will expressed with free suffrage,” it added.

The statement concluded by calling on Peruvian authorities to fully respect Castillo’s human rights and for him to be given “guaranteed judicial protection.”

Earlier Tuesday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced at a news conference that he still recognizes Castillo as Peru’s president, saying the decision behind his removal was grounded in “anti-democratic flaws.”

Lopez Obrador also insisted that he would not recognize Dina Boluarte, the president elected by Peru’s Congress, as the country’s legitimate leader.

On Tuesday, Boluarte, who was previously Castillo’s running mate and vice president, called for calm in the country, insisting on dialogue to move forward.

Castillo was removed from office on Dec. 7 by Congress following his attempt to dissolve parliament hours before it was set to begin fresh impeachment proceedings against him — the third since he assumed office in July 2021 — following allegations of corruption and “moral incapacity.”

He was apprehended on charges of rebellion and conspiracy.

At least seven demonstrators have died since the start of the political crisis in the South American country.

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