Trump Cancels South America Trip as the Eighth Summit of The Americas Commences in Lima
The eighth Summit of the Americas is scheduled to begin on April 13, 2018 in Lima, Peru. The summit is a conference, which brings together leaders from all over the Americas.
According to Al Jazeera “at least 20 heads of state had committed to attending the summit.”
President Donald Trump was also scheduled to attend the summit, but has since cancelled the trip in order to “oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world,” White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Tuesday.
In his place, the White House will send Vice President Mike Pence and First Daughter Ivanka Trump.
In an interview with NBC News, Carmelo Mesa-Lago, a professor of Latin American studies at the University of Pittsburgh said that “the absence of Trump confirms his lack of interest in Latin America.”
The summit comes at a time of particular instability in Latin America. An ongoing financial crisis in Venezuela and a change in leadership in Peru have left the region in a tricky situation.
Numerous Latin American countries have found themselves embroiled in scandals involving Odebrecht, a Brazilian construction company that admitted to paying $800 million dollars in bribes to 12 countries, nine of which were in Latin America.
Last month Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned after videos emerged of key allies in Congress trying to offer kickback to legislators in exchange for vote-shares. On top of the vote-buying scandal, Kuczynski was also accused of accepting money from Odebrecht.
President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela (also accused of accepting money from Odebrecht) was excluded from this year’s summit. Nonetheless, Venezuela is predicted to be a hot topic of discussion at the summit.
Many experts also predict that the summit will cover U.S.-Mexico relations, especially in light of the fact that Trump is planning on renegotiating the North Atlantic Foreign Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada after he threatened to end it two weeks ago.
Trump’s absence will mark the first time an American president has not attended the summit since it began in 1994.