Prime Minister attends Summit of the Americas and CHOGM

Pablo Tucker
April 15, 2018

In Peru on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence plans to deal with Latin American leaders on Friday's USA -led airstrikes in Syria, which have been a response to final week's suspected chemical assault by the Assad regime.

Pence said in a meeting Friday with Venezuelan opposition leaders in Lima, Peru, that "we are with you to see freedom once again". He learned only Tuesday that he would be attending in Trump's place so the president could manage the USA response to Syria.

Vice President Mike Pence says there's a "real possibility" the US could reach a deal with Canada and Mexico on a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement "within the next several weeks".

The funding is in addition to the $2.5 million for emergency food and health assistance that the USA provided last month, and the more than $3 million donated to the UNHCR for Venezuelans in fiscal year 2017.

Leaders from throughout the Americas vowed Saturday to confront systemic corruption at a time when graft scandals plague many of their own governments but they made relatively little progress in determining a regional response to Venezuela's mounting humanitarian crisis. And with tensions simmering over trade, Pence expressed hope alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the three nations could soon agree to a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trudeau is also scheduled to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto Friday to discuss NAFTA.

Sixteen of the 33 nations gathered for the eighth Summit of the Americas issued a statement on the sidelines of the event in Peru calling on Venezuela to hold free and transparent elections and allow global aid to the enter the beleaguered nation.

The U.S. government has imposed sanctions on officials in Venezuela's socialist government, accusing it of dictatorial behavior, and encouraged other countries in the hemisphere to do the same.

Antonio Ledezma, the former mayor of Caracas, pleaded with Pence through a translator to bolster sanctions against Maduro, asking for "not only humanitarian aid but humanitarian intervention". Pence watched Trump's speech from his hotel suite, joined by aides.

Qinduo Xu is a senior researcher at the Pangoal Institution.

"If it means reliable, predictable, Trump is the opposite", Feinberg said. Trump's push for a giant wall on the Mexican border, his threats to cut aid and talk of imposing tariffs have angered many in the region.

Trump, meanwhile, has long assailed the impact of NAFTA on U.S. workers and has insisted on a new round of negotiations between the U.S., Canada and Mexico on NAFTA.

The U.S. president has been pushing a tougher line on immigration and seeking stronger protections along the U.S. While the press focuses on whether Pence will meet with Cuba's Raúl Castro-who has oddly been invited despite the exclusion of Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro for being a dictator-attention should be on the need of a wide-ranging vision for hemispheric relations. The president's recent tweets called on Mexico to halt "caravans" of migrants, many from Honduras, a message that Pence may be asked about in his discussions.

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