Latin American Leaders Arrive in Lima for Summit

Aaron Brown
April 14, 2018

Peru's decision to withdraw the invitation to Venezuela and, by extension, to President Nicolas Maduro, is reminiscent of the time when Cuba was excluded from that mechanism of debate established in Miami in 1994, under the auspices of the United States and the Organization of American States (OAS).

Mexico's president says "the door is open" for the United States to join a Pacific Rim trade deal that was initially rejected by U.S. President Donald Trump.

With the White House's encouragement, Maduro has been barred from the summit over his plans to hold a presidential election that the opposition is boycotting and that many foreign governments consider a sham.

The vice president announced that the USA would provide almost $16 million in humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans who have fled their country under the rule of President Nicolas Maduro.

Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump directed the deployment of National Guard troops to the U.S. -Mexico border to combat illegal migration and drug smuggling. During the meeting with four opposition leaders, Pence listened as they described their once-prosperous country devolving into chaos.

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Maduro was disinvited from the gathering last month, an unusual diplomatic break among Latin American nations that USA analysts consider a positive sign.

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The funds would help women gain "access to capital, work and opportunities", she said at a pre-summit business event attended by dozens of Peruvian women entrepreneurs. In Venezuela, President Maduro has been accused of rushing through a slew of contracts with Odebrecht, while in Colombia some lawmakers have been jailed because of an Odebrecht inquiry. He says, "We want one message to be clear: We are with the people of Venezuela".

This funding from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development includes a contribution to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)'s regional response to the Venezuela crisis and humanitarian aid to Venezuelans and host communities in Colombia and Brazil.

Pence is in Lima for an worldwide summit.

Mexico also is taking part in a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the US and Canada due to demands for changes from Trump.

In a series of meetings with Latin American leaders, Pence plans to promote good governance and democratic institutions and urge allies to maintain pressure on Maduro. The letter blames those policies for declining support for the the region at a time China and Russian Federation are making important inroads.

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