Vizcarra Hosts The Eighth Summit Of The Americas In Lima

Vice President Pence speaks in Washington

US Vice President Mike Pence abruptly left a banquet late Friday hosted by his Peruvian counterpart ahead of the start of a two-day summit with Latin American leaders and went back to his Lima hotel, reporters travelling with him said.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has met with a Cuban opposition leader along the sidelines of an global summit in Peru. Just one week ago, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva became the first leader in his nation's modern history to be incarcerated as he serves out a 12-year corruption conviction. - Pence defended the president while building support among US allies for the joint strikes with Britain and France.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama had pitched the TPP, or Trans Pacific Partnership, as a way to give the United States an edge over China in a fast-growing region that includes large swaths of Latin America.

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has described this year's controversial VIII Summit of the Americas as a "complete failure" during a speech at a rally in Caracas.

The vice president said Maduro has turned Venezuela into a dictatorship and has brought about "abject misery".

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has unexpectedly left the start of an global summit in Peru and been whisked off to his hotel.

Pence is also expected to meet with the leaders of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

Pence announced that the USA would provide almost $16 million in humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans who have fled their country and met with opposition leaders who pleaded for more sanctions.

Pence says he will be calling on USA allies to provide additional humanitarian aid during the Summit of the Americas in Lima. But a coterie of leftists, including Brazil's Lula da Silva, Argentina's Néstor Kirchner, and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, with the support of soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona, buried the idea, arguing that free-trade agreements were an imperialist USA weapon. He says, "We want one message to be clear: We are with the people of Venezuela".

Pence urged Maduro to accept humanitarian aid as the once-prosperous nation deals with national and economic disasters.

Sixteen countries at the meeting issued a declaration calling for transparent elections in Venezuela and on worldwide organizations to "immediately implement a program of humanitarian assistance".

Trump who had planned to attend the Summit of the Americas canceled his trip a few days before the meeting, choosing to stay in Washington to oversee the American response to chemical attacks by the Assad regime.

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. He'll also discuss the influence of Chinese trade in the region.

White House officials said the vice president would emphasize the U.S.as the "partner of choice" in Latin American trade, noting that almost half of the USA trade agreements are based in the Western Hemisphere.

Vice President Mike Pence has told Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the U.S.is "encouraged" by the progress on negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement and hopeful it can lead to "more fair and reciprocal trade".

Thirty-three out of 35 counties in the Western hemisphere attended the eighth Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru on April 13 and 14.

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.

In meetings with Latin American leaders, Pence plans to promote "good governance and democratic institutions" and urge allies to maintain pressure on Maduro.

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