Mike Pence urges Latin American allies to isolate Venezuela

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence arrives to Jorge Chavez international airport in Lima Peru Friday

US urges Latin American allies to isolate Venezuela

Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday that the US would submit a bid to host the next summit in 2021 in an apparent act to quell doubts about the nation's commitment to the region.

He will then head to the Amazonian city of Manaus to visit environmental projects funded by the United States, the source added.

President Trump this week canceled his plans to attend the session, the first US leader to skip the regional summit since the meetings began in 1994. He visited Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Panama in August. And against a backdrop that includes the ongoing attempt to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, tension between the United States and China over potential tariffs, and the possibility the US may decide to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Pence was to leave Lima late Saturday after bilateral meetings with other leaders.

Vice President Mike Pence arrives to Jorge Chavez worldwide airport in Lima, Peru, Friday, April 13, 2018.

The meeting comes amid efforts to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and signs that U.S. President Donald Trump is considering rejoining the recently signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Pence's to-do list included smoothing over differences with Mexico, America's southern neighbor, amid unease over Trump's decision to send troops to the border and harsh rhetoric on immigration.

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One planned meeting gathering attention was to be with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Peña Nieto, who has been involved in a hard renegotiation of NAFTA initiated by the Trump administration, portrayed Mexico as a country that had moved beyond its protectionist past to fully embrace free trade.

The hemispheric meeting focuses on democratic governability against corruption, which is why the South American leader focused on denouncing an evil that, he said, has been delaying the development of our peoples for decades and truncating the dreams of millions of citizens.

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.

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. — Pence defended the president while building support among USA allies for the joint strikes with Britain and France. Pence took Trump's place at the summit so the president could remain in the U.S.to manage the response to the apparent chemical attack by Syria.

And while Trump grapples with the ongoing Russian Federation investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, Pence sought to draw a bright line against Vladimir Putin's alliance with Syria following the suspected chemical attack.

Pence was whisked away from the Summit of the Americas late Friday so he could inform US congressional leaders by phone of Trump's plans to announce the missile strikes.

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