Peru declared Mexico's ambassador in Lima, Pablo Monroy, "persona non grata" on Tuesday and asked him to leave the country.

The most recent escalation in relations between the two countries came after Mexico once again offered political asylum to former President Pedro Castillo, who was deposed and arrested on December 7, and his family.

Castillo faces charges of rebellion and conspiracy after he unconstitutionally attempted to dissolve Congress and install an emergency government in what would have amounted to a coup d'état.

Tjerk Bruhwiller

Correspondent for Latin America based in São Paulo.

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The Peruvian Foreign Ministry based the expulsion of the Mexican ambassador on "repeated statements by the highest authorities in that country on the political situation in Peru".

Mexico's left-wing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has repeatedly criticized Castillo's ouster as undemocratic in the past two weeks and said he still recognizes Castillo as Peru's rightful president.

The governments of Mexico and other Latin American countries, including Colombia, Argentina and Bolivia, have backed Castillo in a joint statement.

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard described the expulsion of the ambassador as "unjustified and reprehensible".

First tourists can leave Machu Picchu

Despite the hardened fronts, the Peruvian foreign ministry on Wednesday granted Castillo's wife and children safe passage from the Mexican embassy in Lima to the airport and exit to Mexico, where they will be granted asylum.

The Mexican ambassador in Lima also flew to Mexico aboard the same plane, Peruvian media reports.

Castillo also tried to get into the Mexican embassy after the failed coup on December 7, but was intercepted and arrested by the authorities.

After two weeks of violent protests by Castillo supporters, which have already killed more than 20 people, the Peruvian Congress cleared the way for new elections on Tuesday.

With a large majority, the deputies voted for a constitutional reform that would allow the presidential and congressional elections to be postponed from 2026 to April 2024.

The reform, which still requires a second vote in Congress, was supported by interim President Dina Boluarte, who has led the government since Castillo was ousted.

It remains to be seen whether the protests will weaken as a result of the Congress decision.

The demonstrators, who have blocked various roads in the country, are demanding immediate new elections and Castillo's release.

A state of emergency has been in force throughout Peru for several days, and there is a night curfew in various regions.

The protests not only affect the mining sector, which is very important for the country, as well as road transport, but also the tourism sector.

For several days, more than three hundred tourists were stuck at the Machu Picchu historic site as protesters blocked the railway line.

Meanwhile, according to the local authorities, the first trains with tourists have been able to leave the village.

Furthermore, the Federal Foreign Office strongly advises against traveling to Peru.