Last week there was a scene that left a large part of the Peruvian population baffled: a huge battalion of the National Police (PNP) marched through the historic center of Lima, right in front of the Judiciary. It was the most powerful image of the forces of order for two months, when the mobilizations against the government of President Dina Boluarte broke out. It was a demonstration of power and, clearly, a message of authority for those who continue to take to the streets to raise their claims.
When asked about the images, the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, was emphatic: “They march like Nazis against their own people, breaking the American Convention on Human Rights. The Convention does not only apply to left-wing governments. Double standard who does that. It applies to all governments,” he remarked. His statements did not go down well with the right-wing benches or the Executive. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ana Gervasi, described what Petro said as “unacceptable” and “out of place.”
Today, the Foreign Relations Commission, headed by the former president of Congress Maricarmen Alva Prieto, approved the motion through which it expresses its rejection of Petro’s statements and declares him persona non grata. The majority was absolute: 13 votes in favour, 3 abstentions and no votes against. The document, which has the endorsement of parliamentarians from various benches, maintains that Petro’s expressions “constitute an offense against our Police and the Republic of Peru by trivializing the Holocaust, as well as the Jewish people, many of whose members are Peruvians.”
In contrast, Silvana Robles, a congresswoman from Peru Libre, the party that brought Pedro Castillo and his Minister of Culture to power until his failed self-coup, said: “The right does not stop its plan at the break of our international relations of any regime to denounce the abuses of the dictatorship of Dina Boluarte”. Last December, the Executive declared persona non grata and expelled the Mexican ambassador to Peru, Pablo Monroy, after the North American country granted political asylum to the Pedro Castillo family.
In any case, the agreement against President Gustavo Petro must still be submitted to the Plenary Session of the House for debate and eventual approval. That the motion has not obtained any vote against gives a clue about the panorama that is coming.
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