Pence Says US to Provide $16 Million in Aid to Venezuelan Refugees

Pence Says US to Provide $16 Million in Aid to Venezuelan Refugees

Pence left the Summit of the Americas late Friday so he could confer with US congressional leaders by telephone from his hotel suite about Trump's plans to announce the missile strikes.

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 USA policy on Venezuela.

Senate Democrats are urging Vice President Mike Pence to use his trip to Lima to reset relations with a region where they say President Donald Trump's immigrant-bashing rhetoric is costing the USA influence. Pence landed in Peru shortly after Trump signaled his interest in possibly rejoining negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Pacific Rim trade pact he frequently blasted during the 2016 campaign, injecting a dose of uncertainty among USA trading partners.

Pence's motorcade took him from opening events surrounding the summit about 45 minutes before Trump addressed the USA public on the military attack.

Pence was attending the Summit of the Americas on Friday before being whisked away from the gathering and to his hotel shortly before Trump's address to the nation. Loud explosions lit up the skies over the Syrian capital, Damascus, as Trump announced the airstrikes.

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra has opened the Summit of the Americas by decrying the scourge of corruption in Latin America.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has unexpectedly left the start of an global summit in Peru and been whisked off to his hotel. It was not immediately clear if he would still attend.

Opposition leader David Smolansky says Maduro's government "has become a threat to the region".

President Donald Trump has partially rolled back former President Barack Obama's diplomatic opening with the communist island.

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.

Pena Nieto "received a proposal" from Pence's side "with the aim of discussing the state and perspectives of the bilateral relationship between Mexico and the United States", the Mexican president's office said in a statement.

It will be the first meeting between the two leaders.

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Mexico also is taking part in a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with the US and Canada due to demands for changes from Trump. It was an unusual display of cross-party unity.

Maduro accuses the United States of helping the opposition to undermine his authority by waging what he calls economic "sabotage" in Venezuela. He was meeting with Venezuelan opposition leaders.

Much of Pence's message will be aimed at building support for further isolating Venezuela, which has faced US sanctions amid a political crisis led by President Nicolas Maduro.

"We are with the people of Venezuela and will continue to do everything in our power to provide sustenance and support to those who have fled", Pence said.

Pence said Friday in Lima, Peru, that the aid will help Venezuelans in Colombia and Brazil access safe drinking water, shelters, and work and educational opportunities.

The United States already has sanctions in place against Maduro and his top officials, as well as other measures preventing the teetering Venezuelan government and state oil company from accessing worldwide credit through U.S. markets or entities. He says, "We want one message to be clear: We are with the people of Venezuela".

Pence is in Lima for an global summit.

The United States remains very concerned about the struggle Venezuelan citizens face every day to meet their families' basic needs.

Following last week's apparent chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma, President Donald Trump canceled a planned visit to South America to oversee the USA response. He'll also discuss the influence of Chinese trade in the region.

Trump pulled out of the summit earlier in the week as he set the stage for an allied response in Syria.

In a series of meetings with Latin American leaders, Pence planned to promote good governance and democratic institutions and urge allies to maintain pressure on Maduro.

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