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15 April 2018, 02:21 | Erica Roy
Maduro: 'Summit of Americas a Complete Imperialist Failure'
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and US Vice President Mike Pence plan to meet on Saturday on the sidelines of a Summit of the Americas in Peru to discuss ties frayed by NAFTA renegotiations and border tensions. It was an unusual display of cross-party unity.
Pence said in a meeting Friday with Venezuelan opposition leaders in Lima, Peru, that "we are with you to see freedom once again".
The vice chairman stated Maduro has turned Venezuela right into a dictatorship and has led to "abject distress".
Opposition leader David Smolansky says Maduro's government "has become a threat to the region".
The vice president, filling in for Trump at the Summit of the Americas, said the USA remained "hopeful" that with the cooperation of Great Britain and France, and support of allies like Canada, "that we will see Syria, and their patrons in Russian Federation and Iran, once and for all abandon the use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians".
With the White House's encouragement, Maduro has been barred from the summit over his plans to hold a presidential election that the opposition is boycotting and many foreign governments consider a sham.
And then there's how the mistake will be viewed in a region that, to be diplomatic, views Trump and Pence - given their immigration policies and tough talk about countries there - suspiciously.
The funds are through the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Pence was at his resort in Lima when Trump introduced the retaliatory airstrikes on Friday evening from the White Home.
Participants in both events also agreed to express Cuba's support to the people and government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and to denounce the expanding use of legal charges of corruption against left wing leaders, for political purposes, ignoring the will of the people.
Antonio Ledezma, the former mayor of Caracas, pleaded with Pence through a translator to bolster sanctions against Maduro, asking for "not only humanitarian aid but humanitarian intervention".
The meeting was scheduled on Friday afternoon after the Summit of the Americas kicked off in Lima.
It will be Pence's second trip to the region - he travelled to Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Panama last August.
And against a backdrop that includes the ongoing attempt to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, tension between the United States and China over potential tariffs, and the possibility the USA may decide to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Trump said on Thursday the NAFTA talks between Canada, Mexico and the USA were "coming along great" and "we're getting pretty close to a deal".
Organization of American States secretary general Luis Almagro told delegates the plague of corruption is not symptomatic of a flaw within democratic governance, and that nations should "fight the illness, not the system".
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