Peru says other countries should withdraw envoys from Venezuela
LIMA, March 31 (Reuters) - Peru on Friday urged other nations to match its tough stance on Venezuela and withdraw their ambassadors from the country to protest the "authoritarian" takeover of its Congress by the pro-government Supreme Court.
Venezuela's top court took control of congress earlier this week in what critics described as a coup. Protests and international condemnation grew through Friday, with Peru taking the hardest line in the Americas.
Calling the move a "flagrant breach of democracy," the Andean country, led by centrist President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, immediately called back its ambassador.
"It's a rapid gesture that other countries should take so Venezuela sees it's alone on that path," Peru's Vice President Martin Vizcarra told Reuters in an interview. "If we want a country, a continent to be governed by democracy, I think all countries must have a firm position of disavowing any kind of coup or authoritarianism."
Peru has emerged as a potential leader of regional efforts to press Venezuela to enact democratic reforms in the absence of a clear strategy from the United States, which has called the Venezuelan court's move a "serious setback for democracy."
Kuczynski, a former Wall Street banker with strong globalist and free-trade beliefs, has won support at home for his position on Venezuela in which he has traded personal attacks with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Vizcarra said Peru's own experience with authoritarianism in the 1990s, when now-jailed rightwing former President Alberto Fujimori dissolved Congress with the backing of the military, has left an indelible mark on the country.
"We've gone through that before and we wouldn't want to repeat that experience or see fellow countries like Venezuela go through it," Vizcarra said.
Vizcarra declined to discuss possible next steps, stressing that Kuczynski is leading the effort in the government. Continuación...