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Venezuela: the focus of the Summit of the Americas in Lima

Cumbre de las Americas
  • EFE

The social, political and economic crisis in Venezuela is a continuous worrying issue in the region that influences international leaders as a priority.

The Summit of the Americas that will take place soon in the Capital of Peru, Lima, is not the exception, although Venezuela is not the central topic of discussion. Around this regional meeting, in recent days statements have been released by the Chancellor of Panama and the President of the United States.

Isabel De Saint Malo, vice president and chancellor of the Central American country, hopes that "the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela" will be part of the discussions of the 7th Summit of the Americas.

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"Although it is not on the agenda, we understand that the situation in Venezuela raises expectations and there is concern", so it is expected that "it will be discussed, because it is a humanitarian crisis". The vice president highlighted that it is expected "a meeting between President Varela and his colleague Trump, and the issue will be the bilateral agenda," she said in a meeting with the Association of Foreign Press Correspondents in Panama, according to EFE.

It is worth remembering that Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro was not invited by the Peruvian government to the Summit and that he responded that he would attend. Also the events that took place last weekend when Panama and Venezuela led a diplomatic break of relations, with the withdrawal of both ambassadors in Panama and Venezuela from their posts and Venezuela made the decision to suspend for 90 days their economic and financial relations with 22 people from the Panamanian government, including the president and vice president.

Panama, in the voice of its foreign minister, assured that it will not seek any rapprochement with Venezuela at the Lima Summit, after the reciprocal ambassadors' withdrawal, because Caracas has "attacked" the Panamanian government by sanctioning its senior officials and companies with the temporary suspension of economic relations.

The Summit of the Americas will focus on the fight against corruption and the attendees included the confirmations of Juan Carlos Varela, and other leaders. Cuban President Raul Castro’s attendance remains unknown to this day. President of United States, Donald Trump, will not be attending to the Summit, and his posterior trip to Colombia, the white house in a press release notified today that president Trump will be supervising the United States response to the conflict in Siria, vicepresident Mike Pence, will be attending to represent him.

 

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The Trump administration does not intend to maintain any contact with the president of the Caribbean island and believes that Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro will not keep his plan to travel to Peru for the regional meeting.

"Our expectation is that President Maduro will not attend. That will be a very good sign that the region is serious about focusing on governance and democracy," said a senior official who requested anonymity at a telephone press conference.

Trump has no plans to announce further sanctions against Venezuela at the Summit, according to the source, but the United States does plan to take "more actions in the coming months to punish Maduro and those around him for corruption," the official said.

"The situation in Venezuela is not sustainable, and is an affront to the region and the world," said the official, who said that the continent "is doing what it can to follow the leadership of the US" in his response to Maduro.

Vicepresident Mike Pence, confirmed today through Pence's chief of staff in a press release, that his participation in the Summit will be to work closely with his Latinamerican allies to act against the antidemocratic actors of the region and make them responsible for their acts, but he mentioned that he will not be traveling to Colombia. 

Starting on Tuesday, Lima will host a series of meetings of civil society, indigenous organizations, unions, youth, parliamentarians and businessmen, prior to the Summit of the Americas that will bring together the leaders and political authorities next Friday 13 and Saturday 14.

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Trump has no plans to announce further sanctions against Venezuela at the Summit, according to the source, but the United States does plan to take "more actions in the coming months to punish Maduro and those around him for corruption."

President Trump will spend "between a day and a half or two" in Lima and will attend "all the major events" of the meeting of Heads of State and Government of the Summit, but the White House is not yet clear if it will participate at the meeting of entrepreneurs to be held on April 12 and 13.

The president will travel accompanied by his daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, whose goal is to highlight in Lima "issues of economic empowerment of women in the region," in addition to the Acting Secretary of State, John Sullivan, since Washington does not have right now a Foreign Minister confirmed in the position.

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