Peru's one-house Congress Thursday denied President Pedro Castillo Terrones permission to attend the inauguration of Colombia's new President Gustavo Petro in Bogota on Aug. 7. Castillo had filed for clearance to be out of the country between Aug. 6 to 8, as per Article 102 of the Constitution.
With 67 votes against, 42 in favor, and five abstentions, Castillo has been denied the possibility to be absent from the national territory because he is under investigation for corruption in 5 cases handled by the Attorney General's Office.
Many of us think that he should not travel. And that is not hate, it is not revenge. We have given him permission on other occasions, explained pro-Fujimori congressman Hernando Guerra during his intervention.
Lawmaker Adriana Tudela of Avanza País said that evidence pointing to his involvement in cases of corruption was overwhelming and abundant, thus posing a flight risk. She insisted it was a mere protocol act, which can be attended by the Foreign Minister.
Our responsibility is that the president is accountable to the people he claims to represent, she insisted.
Perú Libre, the party that led Castillo to the presidency but from which he has already resigned, saw no reason to oppose the trip. Don't let yourselves be carried away by hatred and conspiracy theories, because we are going to make an international fool of ourselves, said Congresswoman Katy Ugarte was quoted by El Comercio as saying.
Some Peruvian lawmakers feared Castillo would not return to Peru, like Alberto Fujimori once did, and needed to be extradited from Chile.
From the Executive we have always respected the independence of the powers of the State [branches of government]. I regret that, in an unusual and arrogant way, Congress prevents me from attending an international protocol act, Castillo said on Twitter.
Our international image is once again put in question by not authorizing the President's trip to the transfer of command in Colombia. I call on the congressmen, who on other occasions have reversed decisions to honor Peru's international commitments, Foreign Minister César Landa explained.
Culture Minister Alejandro Salas denied Castillo posed a flight risk and recalled Fujimori's resignation by fax. The history of our country had only one president who traveled and resigned by fax, there was only one, and that is not and will not be Pedro Castillo. Despite obstructions and obstacles, this government continues working, wrote Salas.
Minister of Women Diana Miloslavich considered it was not a democratic decision that the President cannot attend a presidential changeover in a friendly country such as Colombia, and hoped Congress reverses its decision.