By Ben Norton / Multipolarista
The governments of Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and Bolivia released a joint statement supporting Peru’s democratically elected President Pedro Castillo, saying he is the victim of “anti-democratic harassment.”
Castillo was overthrown in a coup d’etat on December 7, led by the infamously corrupt right-wing opposition that controls Peru’s unicameral congress, which has an approval rating of between 7% and 11%.
The US-dominated Organization of American States (OAS) and State Department have openly supported the coup, backing unelected leader Dina Boluarte, who declared herself president in collaboration with the congress.
Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, and Colombia wrote that they “express their profound concern for the recent events that resulted in the removal and detention of José Pedro Castillo Terrones, president of the Republic of Peru.”
“For the world, it is not news that President Castillo Terrones, since the day of his election, was victim of anti-democratic harassment,” the countries wrote.
They added that Castillo has also been subjected to illegal “judicial treatment” – an allusion to the relentless lawfare (judicial warfare) that Peru’s right-wing opposition has waged against the president and his top officials and political allies.
Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, and Colombia stressed that this harassment violates the 1969 American Convention on Human Rights.
“Our governments call on all actors involved in the previous process to prioritize the citizens’ will that was expressed at the ballot box,” they wrote, adding, “We urge those who make up the institutions to refrain from reversing the popular will expressed by the free vote.”
In other words, they called for recognizing Castillo as the only democratic, constitutional president of Peru.
The countries emphasized, “We also request that the authorities full respect the human rights of the President Pedro Castillo and that he is guaranteed legal protection” that is established in the American Convention on Human Rights.
Presidents of Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia denounce coup against Peru’s Castillo
When the coup in Peru was carried out, on December 7, Mexico’s left-wing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) wrote:
“We considerate it terrible that, because of the interests of economic and political elites, since the beginning of the legitimate presidency of Pedro Castillo, an environment of confrontation and hostility was maintained against him, leading him to take decisions that have served his adversaries to remove him.”
AMLO was referring to Castillo’s decision to dissolve Peru’s coup-plotting congress – an action that is allowed in certain cases of obstructionism according to article 134 of the country’s constitution.
Colombia’s first ever left-wing president, Gustavo Petro, likewise wrote that “Pedro Castillo, for being a teacher from la Sierra [the mountainous rural region in the Andes], elected by the people, was cornered from the first day.”
“When I met Pedro Castillo, they [the right-wing opposition] were trying to break in to the presidential palace to detain his wife and his daughter,” Petro recalled.
“He received me distressed. A parliamentary coup was already being developed against him,” the Colombian president said.
On the day of the coup, Bolivia’s President Luis Arce also publicly warned, “Since the beginning, the Peruvian right tried to overthrow the government that was democratically elected by the people, by the humble classes that seek more inclusion and social justice.”
“We regret what has occurred in the sisterly republic of Peru, where we send our solidarity,” he said.
The Bolivian president added, “The constant harassment by anti-democratic elites against progressive, popular, and legitimate governments should be condemned by everyone.”
Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales, who was himself overthrown in a US-backed right-wing coup in 2019, said the latest putsch showed “once again that the Peruvian oligarchy and the US empire do not accept that leaders who are union organizers and Indigenous rise to government to work for the people.”
Morales added that “the political crisis” in Peru “was provoked by the permanent conspiring of the Fujimorista right wing and right-wing media outlets against a government elected at the ballot box, whose ‘unforgiveable crime’ was representing the poorest people.”
Morales later tweeted that the “congressional coup by the right wing in Peru calls us to have a deep reflection.”
“A government elected by the people never should abandon its ideological base, or distance itself from its militancy. Thinking that the right wing will accept presidents from popular movements is the worst historical error,” he cautioned.
When the Peruvian people took to the streets in large protests against the coup, demanding the freedom of Castillo, fresh elections, and a new constitution, Morales wrote on December 12:
“In the November 2019 coup, humble people confronted the armed repression of the coup-plotters in Bolivia. In the congressional coup in Peru, humble people are confronted by the repression of the coup-plotting right wing. The Patria Grande [movement seeking Latin American regional unity] demands justice for our massacred brothers.”
Morales followed up again on December 13, stating:
“We join the shout that defenders of life and human rights are making demanding a stop to the massacres of our Indigenous brothers in Peru, that they respect their vote and a democracy that represents them. No government whose hands are stained with the blood of the people is legitimate.”