Mexico says it is considering granting asylum to Peru’s former President Pedro Castillo, who was impeached and then accused of rebellion in a dramatic turn of events on Wednesday.
Mr Castillo, 53, is now in custody in Lima. His asylum request has been sent to Mexico’s president via a lawyer.
The two countries are now discussing the issue, says Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard.
Mr Castillo was removed from office after he tried to dissolve Congress. Facing an impeachment vote, Mr Castillo announced he was dissolving the opposition-controlled legislative body.
But Congress defied him, voted overwhelmingly to remove him from office, and his bodyguards stopped him from seeking refuge at the Mexican embassy in the capital Lima.
Just hours later, Congress swore in his vice-president, 60-year-old Dina Boluarte, as the new President.
In a letter to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent late on Wednesday, Mr Castillo’s lawyer requested him to “consider granting asylum … in the face of the unfounded persecution of justice bodies”.
“They intend to prosecute him for mere announcements of will or intention that do not constitute any criminal offence,” the letter added.
According to Mr Ebrard, the Mexican ambassador to Peru, Pablo Monroy, met Mr Castillo in Lima. “He found [Mr Castillo] physically well and in the company of his lawyer,” he said.
Ms Boluarte, was Mr Castillo’s running mate in the 2021 election, quickly distanced herself from him on Wednesday when he tried to dissolve Congress, a move she said was an “attempted coup”. Speaking after being sworn in, she urged Peruvians to come together for “national unity” and asked for a “truce” to allow her to fight corruption.
Mr Castillo’s presidency was rocky even by Peru’s standards, a country which in 2020 had three presidents within the space of five days. The left-wing former school teacher narrowly beat his right-wing rival Keiko Fujimori to the presidency in June 2021.
But with little political experience and facing a hostile Congress, Mr Castillo who often attended official events wearing a wide-brimmed hat, quickly appeared out of his depth.
His cabinet underwent constant change and during his 18 months in office he had five prime ministers. His time in office was also overshadowed by allegations of corruption, which Mr Castillo said were part of a “political persecution”.