Latin American leftist bloc closes ranks behind deposed Peruvian president

HAVANA, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A bloc of left-wing countries meeting in Havana on Wednesday closed ranks in support of the ousted former president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, amid protests and roadblocks in the South American nation that have left at least eight dead.

"We reject the political framework created by right-wing forces against Constitutional President Pedro Castillo," the 10 member countries - including Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and smaller Caribbean Island nations - said in a longer statement on international events issued late in the evening.

"We repudiate the repression by the forces of order against the Peruvian people who defend a government elected at the polls and we call for dialogue ..."

Castillo was deposed and then arrested last week after lawmakers in the opposition-controlled Congress voted to remove him from power shortly after he illegally sought to dissolve Congress to avoid a third impeachment vote.

Castillo's former vice president Dina Boluarte was sworn into office after his removal.

Wednesday’s ALBA summit marked the 18th anniversary of its founding by former presidents Fidel Castro of Cuba and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, both of whom are deceased.

On Monday, the governments of Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia and Argentina called for the protection of Castillo's human and judicial rights.

The Peruvian government declared a state of emergency on Wednesday, a rare move to quell protests, which allows the armed forces to assist police and curtails certain civil liberties including the right to assembly.

Protesters are demanding Castillo’s release, that Boluarte step down, the dissolution of Congress and new elections.

Reporting by Marc Frank; additional reporting by Nelson Acosta; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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