US VP drops summit banquet, abruptly goes to hotel in Peru
US VP drops summit banquet, abruptly goes to hotel in Peru
The summit begins less than a month after Peru's president assumed office following the previous leader's resignation
17 April, 2018, 18:39
Pence, in Lima for the Summit of the Americas, announced that the U.S. would provide almost Dollars 16 million in humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans who have fled their country under the rule of President Nicolas Maduro.
Calling Venezuela "a failed state" where poverty and crime were rampant, Pence said, "The responsibility for the Venezuelan people's suffering can be laid at the feet of one man: Nicolas Maduro".
The joint statement called on worldwide organizations to offer support to neighboring countries to cope with the arrivals and for Maduro to allow access for humanitarian aid to his nation of 30 million people - something he has refused to do, denying there is a crisis.
Seated along side Trudeau, Pence mentioned there was still a "real possibility" that the US may reach a deal with Canada and Mexico on NAFTA "within the next several weeks".
"The United States believes now is the time to do more, much more", he said.
Without some of the headlining names in the region in attendance, perhaps the most interesting speech came from Bolivian President Evo Morales, who spoke out against the USA government, calling it "the principal enemy against freedom, against democracy, against Mother Earth, and against multilateralism". But he called on the region to take a harder line on Maduro's government, a message he intends to deliver in Brazil next month.
Sixteen countries at the meeting issued a declaration calling for transparent elections in Venezuela and on global organizations to "immediately implement a program of humanitarian assistance".
Argentine President Mauricio Macri and Chilean President Sebastian Piñera, among others, repudiated Syria's use of chemical weapons but expressed caution at escalating the situation following the USA attacks on Damascus.
"The Lima Summit was the beginning of the end of the Summit of the Americas", he added from the presidential palace in Caracas where he had met with Bolivian President Evo Morales.
"President Trump is right to assert that the Assad regime's evil acts can not go unanswered, and the nations that enable Assad's murderous acts - namely Russian Federation and Iran - must be put on notice and held to account", Scalise said.
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Bolivia and Cuba criticized Peru's decision not to invite Maduro, attributing it to USA pressure.
Cuba's foreign minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, was recognized to offer a rebuttal.
A drop in oil prices and quadruple-digit inflation have contributed to an economic crisis in the oil-producing country with a leftist regime, pushing hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans to migrate to Colombia and elsewhere.
Vizcarra says addressing corruption "is the utmost importance to us".
Jarrod Agen, Pence's deputy chief of staff and communications director, said Pence left the opening ceremony for the Summit of the Americas to place phone calls to Congressional leadership.
Later, the head of state took part in the "Conversation with Heads of State" together with Pizera.
In a sign of possible progress toward that goal, Pence and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto scheduled a one-on-one meeting on Saturday. The meeting with Pence was announced on Friday and follows Trump's push to deploy National Guard troops to the U.S. -Mexico border to fight illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
Vice President Mike Pence plans to promote the U.S.as a steady trading partner and press Latin American partners to further isolate Venezuela during his weekend trip to Peru.
Pence said there was a "real possibility" that "we could arrive at an agreement within the next several weeks on a renegotiated NAFTA that would be a better deal for the American people".
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Thursday told the business leaders that under the right conditions the U.S. would reconsider joining the TPP, despite Trump's earlier decision to back away from an initial deal. He learned only Tuesday he would be attending in Trump's place therefore that the president would afford the US response to Syria. The cancellation was widely interpreted as a sign of USA indifference to its relations with Latin America.
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