Mike Pence meets Venezuelan opposition ahead of summit

Maduro: 'Summit of Americas a Complete Imperialist Failure'

Maduro: 'Summit of Americas a Complete Imperialist Failure'

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.

The countries, collectively named the Lima Group after the location of their first declaration, have vowed to not recognize the results of a May 20 Venezuelan presidential election that the opposition says Maduro has rigged in his favor.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence are set to meet on the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas during a tense time for their governments.

Ana Quintana, a senior policy analyst on Latin America and the Western Hemisphere for the Heritage Foundation, said Pence would seek to "continue the momentum" of US policy on Venezuela.

"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. Left unsaid was whether Pence's overtures might eventually lead to a joint Trump-Pena Nieto meeting, their first.

Opposition leader David Smolansky says Maduro's government "has become a threat to the region". Trump has long assailed the trade deal's impact on USA workers and threatened to pull the US out if he's unhappy with the terms.

The U.S. vice president says Maduro has turned Venezuela into a dictatorship.

The funds are through the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

US Vice President Mike Pence abruptly skipped an official banquet in Peru late Friday ahead of a summit with Latin American leaders, as President Donald Trump announced he had ordered air strikes on Syria.

Unlike past appearances at worldwide summits, the vice-president had to dive into the packed agenda on short notice.

Reporters travelling with Pence said he suddenly aborted his plans for a dinner and reception hosted by Peru's president and went back to his hotel, in time for Trump's televised address from Washington on the military action in response to a suspected poison gas attack in Syria.

Vice President Mike Pence plans to promote the U.S.as a steady trading partner and press Latin American partners to further isolate Venezuela during his weekend trip to Peru. He'll also discuss the influence of Chinese trade in the region.

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". Pence, meanwhile, tends to be more scripted in his exchanges and frequently glanced down at highlighted index cards as he spoke to Latin American leaders here. He'll be subbing for President Donald Trump after the president pulled out of his first planned visit to Latin America to manage the USA response to an apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria. 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. He's also expected to urge Latin American allies to maintain pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

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