Mexico grants asylum to the family of Peru’s ousted President Pedro Castillo

The content originally appeared on: CNN


The family of Peru’s ousted President Pedro Castillo has been granted asylum by the Mexican government, Mexico’s foreign minister said Tuesday amid ongoing protests in the Andean nation, which has left dozens of people dead.

Marcelo Ebrard announced the Castillo family was already at the Mexican embassy in Peru’s capital Lima without specifying which members or how many where currently inside the diplomatic mission.

“The asylum has already been granted because they are in Mexican territory, in other words they are in our embassy,” he said, adding that “what is being negotiated is their safe passage so if they want to leave, they can do so and come to Mexico, if they wish.”

Castillo, a former teacher and union leader from rural Peru, was impeached and removed from office nearly two weeks ago after he attempted to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government – a tactic that lawmakers slammed as an attempted coup.

He was detained while making his way to the Mexican embassy in Lima, according to prosecutors. He is currently under “preventive detention” for 18 months for alleged rebellion and conspiracy – accusations that he denies.

Peru’s President Dina Boluarte said Sunday she understood Mexico had given asylum to Castillo’s wife, Lilia Paredes, and their children.

“A few days ago, the minister for foreign affairs told me that the Mexican state had already given (them) asylum,” Boluarte said during an interview with Peru’s Panamericana Television.

The former first lady is being investigated on suspicion of allegedly coordinating a criminal network led by Castillo. Her former attorney, Benji Espinoza, had stressed her innocence and argued the investigation against Paredes included “a number of flaws and omissions.”

CNN is trying to reach Castillo family’s new legal representation for comment.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been critical about Castillo’s impeachment, saying the Peruvian was a victim of “harassment” from “his adversaries, especially the economic and political elites of that country.”

In a joint statement last week, the governments of Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and Bolivia expressed concern over Castillo’s fate, claiming he had been a victim of “undemocratic harassment” since his election last year and urging Peru to honor the results of last year’s presidential vote.

Peru responded by summoning ambassadors for a consultation over “interference” in the country’s affairs.

Boluarte has been battling to contain widespread protests against Castillo’s impeachment since becoming the country’s first female president. While Boluarte has offered the possibility of holding early elections, Defense Minister Luis Alberto Ot?rola declared a state of emergency and deployed troops to the street.

Some 26 people have died in the violence, according to Peru’s Ministry of Health data on Monday, many of whom come from the rural and largely indigenous area of Ayacucho in the country’s south, according to Reuters.

And despite the calls for early presidential and parliamentary elections, the country remains at an impasse after Congress last week rejected a constitutional reform needed to hold an early vote in 2023.

Peruvian politics has been mired in dysfunction for years, with Boluarte being its sixth president since 2018.

Castillo – who prior to becoming president had never previously held public office – campaigned on a promise to redistribute wealth and uplift the country’s poorest.

But his government was mired in chaos, with dozens of ministers appointed, replaced, fired or quitting their posts in little over a year. Castillo himself faced multiple corruption investigations and two failed impeachment attempts before he was ousted.