Amid a political and diplomatic crisis that shows no sign of abating, lawmakers in Peru declared President Gustavo Petro of Colombia persona non grata last week. The move came in response to Mr. Petro’s words comparing the Peruvian police forces to Nazi troops.
The motion, approved by the unicameral Congress in a 72-29 vote, bans Mr. Petro from entering Peru. Congresswoman María del Carmen Alva, who leads the congressional Foreign Affairs Committee, described the Colombian president’s words as “unacceptable.”
On February 10, Mr. Petro said that “they [the Peruvian police] march like Nazis, against their own people, breaking the American Convention on Human Rights.” At least 60 people have been killed since the current crisis started in Peru, mostly in cases related to a violent security response to protests against the government of interim President Dina Boluarte.
The Colombian leader also criticized what he called the “double standards” of those who condemned violations in Latin America, saying human rights conventions don’t apply “only to left-wing governments” — in a silent reference to Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, often used as regional examples of political abuse.
The crisis in Peru was sparked in December of last year, when then-President Pedro Castillo was ousted and arrested after attempting a self-coup. Groups supporting Mr. Castillo, mainly in Peru’s remote rural regions, have been calling for new elections ever since. Since the struggle started, many international leaders have commented on the Peruvian crisis.
In December, the Peruvian Congress approved a motion condemning Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s “constant acts of meddling in internal affairs” in Peru.