By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), who has repeatedly accused the European Parliament, the United States, Spain and a slew of other countries of “meddling” in Mexico’s internal affairs, found himself with the shoe on the other foot on Friday, Dec. 9, after Peru’s Foreign Ministry called in his ambassador to Lima, Pablo Monroy, and ordered López Obrador to “butt out” of the internal workings of its government.
Monroy was summoned to the Peruvian chancellery by the newly instated government of President Dina Boluarte on complaints that Mexico was trying to interfere in Peru’s internal affairs by defending ousted former President Pedro Castillo, advocating for his release from jail and seeking his political asylum in Mexico.
On Saturday, Dec. 10, AMLO responded to the reprimand from Peru by saying, “I was only expressing an opinion,” but added that he believed the events that took place in Peru last week constituted “a violation of democracy.”
Castillo was removed from power and arrested on on Wednesday, Dec. 7, after attempting to dissolve Peru’s Congress.
López Obrador had considered Castillo as a close political ally in his quest to promote leftist ideas and governments throughout Latin America, and after Castillo was deposed, AMLO publicly blamed Peruvian conservatives for his political demise.
In a written statement from its Foreign Affairs Ministry on Friday, Peru said that the “comments made by the Mexican authorities are an interference in Peru’s internal matters and do not reflect the events in recent days.”
The statement also said that the ministry had “informed Ambassador Monroy about the need for states to follow all regulations established in current international treaties and to comply with all requirements.”
Over the course of the last two years, AMLO has tried to position himself as the leader of Latin American presidents, coddling his fellow leftists and taking beau geste actions, such as refusing to attend the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles in June of this year and canceling the 17th Pacific Alliance Summit in Mexico last month, precisely because Castillo was not granted permission to attend by his congress.
But to a large degree, AMLO’s efforts to obtain a regional leadership role have backfired.
In February of this year, Panama formally reprimanded Mexico for trying to send an alleged rapist as ambassador to its country, and then accusing its foreign minister of “acting like someone in the Spanish Inquisition” for daring to question the proposed envoy’s diplomatic credentials.
In June, Colombia announced a “formal estrangement” from Mexico after AMLO commented publicly about then-presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, which Bogota described as “Mexico’s interference” in its electoral process.
And in November of this year, AMLO himself acknowledged the dispute he had with Argentine President Alberto Fernández over Buenos Aires’ vote in the election of the Inter-American Development Bank presidency.