As protests wane, family of Peru’s ousted leader offered asylum in Mexico
LIMA: Mexico has offered asylum to the graft-accused family of Peru’s ex-president Pedro Castillo, his successor announced, as protests prompted by the leftist leader’s ouster appeared to be waning.
Embattled Castillo was abruptly removed from power and arrested this month after seeking to dissolve Congress and rule by decree.
His ouster drew criticism from leftist Latin American allies including Mexico, as well as from thousands of supporters who took to the streets to demand his release.
On Sunday, Dina Boluarte who took Castillo’s place, said Mexico had offered to take in her predecessor’s wife and children.
“A few days ago, the foreign minister (of Peru, Ana Cecilia Gervasi) informed me that the Mexican state had given political asylum” to Castillo’s family, Boluarte told the Panorama TV program.
Boluarte, who was Castillo’s vice president until his ouster, did not specify whether the family members – Castillo’s wife, two children and sister-in-law – have left the country.
Castillo’s wife, Lilia Paredes, stands accused by prosecutors of criminal conspiracy and money laundering as part of an alleged graft network headed by her husband.
The “criminal organization” Castillo stands accused of running is alleged to have handed out public contracts in exchange for kickbacks.
Paredes’ sister Yenifer is also accused in the alleged plot.
Castillo, a rural former school teacher and union leader, unexpectedly took power from Peru’s traditional political elite in elections last year.
He immediately came under fire from his political rivals and soon also found himself in the cross-hairs of prosecutors investigating graft claims.
His term saw three prime ministers and seven interior ministers come and go in just over a year.
Opinion polls have shown massive public disapproval of Castillo’s management of the country, but thousands nevertheless spilled into the streets when he was ousted by the very Congress he had sought to dissolve, and then arrested.
A subsequent security clampdown, which has seen the deployment of armed soldiers amid a state of emergency, has left 20 protesters dead.
Castillo is being held in pre-trial detention on charges of rebellion and conspiracy.
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the fellow leftist leaders of Bolivia, Argentina and Colombia have all expressed support for Castillo.
Demonstrations in recent weeks – which have included roadblocks and airport disruptions – called for Boluarte’s resignation and for elections scheduled for 2026 to be brought forward to next year.
Operations at the airport of Arequipa, Peru’s second busiest, resumed Monday after a week of closure due to protests that saw the runway obstructed with stones, sticks and burning tires.
The airport disruption stranded hundreds of tourists, including at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
On Monday, neighbor Chile said a chartered plane would evacuate tourists from Cusco, near the World Heritage Site, to Lima.
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