MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s president said Wednesday that Peru's ousted president, Pedro Castillo, remains “the legal and legitimate president” of that country and that he was jailed as part of a “coup.”
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also claimed Peru’s current government is “racist” and had jailed Castillo because he is indigenous. The comments were the most forceful indication yet that López Obrador doesn’t recognize current Peruvian President Dina Boluarte.
“I maintain that he (Castillo) is the legal and legitimate president,” López Obrador said at his morning press briefing. “He suffered a coup.”
“They won't accept Pedro Castillo because he is from the mountains, he is indigenous,” the president said.
Boluarte took office on Dec. 7 after then-President Castillo was removed by Parliament and jailed after trying to dissolve Congress to avoid a vote on his removal from office. Castillo, who was Peru’s first leader from a rural Andean background, was plagued by corruption scandals and a revolving-door cabinet.
López Obrador’s administration has not said that it would withdraw formal recognition of Boluarte's government. But relations between the two countries have suffered because of the Mexican president’s stance.
In February, Boluarte withdrew her country’s ambassador in response to previous comments by López Obrado.
Mexico's formal position is that it neither ‘recognizes’ nor withholds recognition from other countries' governments, but has not explained how that policy squares with López Obrador's statements.
Street protests in Peru against Castillo's removal began in December and have been answered by police actions that have left 67 dead overall, mostly protesters, according to Peru’s ombudsman.
While López Obrador has slammed the killing of protesters in Peru, he has been criticized for saying little about the hundreds of Nicaraguans killed or exiled by the government of President Daniel Ortega.