Published: Sat, April 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

US VP drops summit banquet, abruptly goes to hotel in Peru

US VP drops summit banquet, abruptly goes to hotel in Peru

It will be the first meeting between the two leaders.

Trump has over the past few weeks been pushing a tougher line on immigration and seeking stronger protections along the US-Mexican border.

That decision was condemned last week by Pena Nieto and opposing candidates for this year's Mexican presidential election. The vice president last August traveled to four countries in the region, met several times with Venezuelan dissidents and chaired a summit in Miami with leaders of Central America to discuss security.

"The U.S. and our allies, I believe, are prepared to do much more", Pence said, accusing Maduro of "refusing humanitarian aid to be delivered to Venezuela". As a hemisphere we must increase our support for the well-being of the Venezuelan people and the restoration of their democracy.

Opposition leader David Smolansky says Maduro's government "has become a threat to the region".

"We want one message to be clear: We are with the people of Venezuela", Pence said at the USA ambassador's residence, seated with a group of Venezuelan opposition leaders.

He drafted a list of Venezuelan officials accused of human rights abuses that became the basis for US sanctions.

The same position was expressed during national forums held in Cuba in preparation for the events in Lima. They include National Assembly President Julio Borges and former Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma.

The summit in Peru is a once-every-three-years meeting of leaders from across Latin America, the United States and Canada.

Overseas during a major military strike, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence plans to address Latin American leaders Saturday on President Donald Trump's decision to launch air strikes in Syria in response to a suspected chemical attack in the war-torn nation.

The vice president is expected to urge Latin American leaders to maintain pressure on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

He said the "trade blocks in the region, Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance, today are interested in joining together after following different tracks for many years". Many head to Brazil, Colombia and Panama, and often beyond.

Vice President Mike Pence plans to promote the a steady trading partner and press Latin American partners to further isolate Venezuela during his weekend trip to Peru.

The meeting was scheduled on Friday afternoon after the Summit of the Americas kicked off in Lima.

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