Peruvian lawmakers voted on Thursday to declare Mexico’s leftist president unwelcome in the South American country, citing what they described as his meddling in Peru’s internal affairs and signaling a growing diplomatic divide in the region.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s declaration as a “persona non grata” in Peru makes him the second Latin American leader to receive that status.
Peru’s right-wing Congress passed the largely symbolic declaration by 65 votes to 40 after López Obrador derided Peruvian President Dina Boluarte as an illegitimate “usurper” after her predecessor Pedro Castillo was ousted last year .
Boluarte also refused to hand over the presidency of the trade bloc of the Pacific Alliance to the Mexican leader.
In February, Peruvian lawmakers took the same action against López Obrador’s leftist counterpart in Colombia, President Gustavo Petro, over similar criticisms of Boluarte’s tenure and his handling of the country’s political crisis and subsequent turmoil.
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales, also a leftist, was another critic and was also considered persona non grata by the Peruvian Congress.
Boluarte was sworn in hours after Castillo was removed from office and swiftly arrested following his attempt to dissolve Congress and rule by decree. Raucous protests erupted and dozens were killed.
Human rights groups have accused police and soldiers of excessive use of force, and Amnesty International on Thursday suggested that the indigenous origin of most of those killed in the protests suggested racial bias.