Venezuela's Maduro blasts Summit of Americas for "intolerance"

Katrina Barker
April 17, 2018

Through a legally unbinding document called the Lima Compromise, the regional heads of state made the agreement that they would take "strong stands" against corruptive practices.

Peru's President Martin Vizcarra meets U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Acting U.S. Secretary of State John Sullivan and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner during a bilateral meeting at the VIII Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru April 14, 2018.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the summit in Trump's place, used the opportunity to push for greater sanctions against Venezuela, saying Washington would not sit "idly by".

That decision was condemned last week by Pena Nieto and opposing candidates for this year's Mexican presidential election.

Despite an economic collapse that has driven an estimated 3 million people to flee his once-prosperous OPEC nation, Maduro is expected to win next month's poll. Pence's deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, told Reuters he planned to discuss the strikes in his speech on Saturday and in meetings with leaders.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was barred from attending the summit over his plans to hold a presidential election that the opposition is boycotting and that many foreign governments consider a sham.

Without some of the headlining names in the region in attendance, perhaps the most interesting speech came from Bolivian President Evo Morales, who spoke out against the US government, calling it "the principal enemy against freedom, against democracy, against Mother Earth, and against multilateralism".

Neighboring countries' frustration with Maduro's socialist government has been stoked by the arrival of thousands of hungry migrants across the border into Colombia and Brazil every day.

Calling Venezuela "a failed state" where poverty and crime were rampant, Pence said, "The responsibility for the Venezuelan people's suffering can be laid at the feet of one man: Nicolas Maduro".

Leaders from throughout the Americas agreed to an informal promise that they would abstain from and root out political corruption in their respective countries at the Summit of the Americas in Lima this weekend.

Maduro was banned from the Lima gathering due to regional censure of his democratic record.

Under former U.S. President Barack Obama, the TPP had been pitched as a way to secure an edge over China in a fast-growing region that includes large swaths of Latin America. When Pence realized that Cuba's representative was speaking, he conferred with an official with the Organization of American States and then walked out of the session.

Previous efforts to build consensus behind strongly worded condemnations of Venezuela at the OAS have run into resistance not just from Caracas' left-leaning allies such as Cuba and Bolivia, but Caribbean nations that have benefited from Venezuela's subsidized oil programmers.

"When the left-wing governments were the majority in the region, we maintained a dialogue of diversity with right-wing governments", said Maduro.

The United States, France and Britain have been moving warships and aircrafts close to Syria in recent days, fuelling speculation that military action could be imminent.

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

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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