Latin America unfazed by Trump bypassing summit


The earlier USA announcement that President Donald Trump will not attend the 8th Summit of the Americas to be held this week here in the Peruvian capital reflects a "low priority" for Latin America on Washington's agenda, said Peruvian analysts.

'President Trump will not attend the 8th Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, nor will he travel to Bogota, Colombia, as he was originally scheduled, ' White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Tuesday. "The President will remain in the USA to oversee the American response to Syria and to monitor developments around the world". The latter is a notoriously touchy subject between the already fraught relationship between Trump and Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, especially as Trump has just sent 338 National Guard Troops to the Mexican border.

When speaking on Monday, Trump stated that "nothing is off the table", in dealing with Syria following the chemical attack. The trip had been expected to be tense and awkward because of Trump's repeated disparagement of the region over immigration, narcotics and trade.

CNBC also spoke to Sergio Montenegro, who works in Lima, and he compared Trump with some populist leaders who came to power in Latin America.

Pence's deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen, said in a statement that Pence is "honored" to attend the summit, adding that a year ago he "traveled to the region to meet with the Presidents of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Panama to increase the pressure against the Maduro regime and negotiate better trade deals that benefit American workers". He was set to attend the Summit of the Americas in Peru.

CNBC spoke to an unnamed Peruvian diplomat, who said the planned visit was stirring nostalgia for Obama.

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"I wanted to meet the USA president face to face to debate economic and social policies", Morales, a critic of Trump, said in a televised comments at a public event.

The wide-ranging Russian investigation being led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has also intensified in recent weeks, as have converging legal battles pertaining to Trump and his associates.

The amount of parties involved in the Syrian conflict, both on the opposition and governmental sides, make retaliation against a chemical attack incredibly complicated.

Maduro also took a jab at the decision by Donald Trump to not attend the summit, saying that the U.S. president's absence demonstrated his "disdain" for the region. It will be interesting to see how Vice President Pence manages the situation at the Summit, and how the other countries react to him.

Trump was also expected to use the speech to criticize Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, a leftist leader considered a dictator by his critics. Maduro, who was not invited to the summit, will crash the gathering and spark a protocol meltdown in the way the Venezuela's then-foreign minister had done at a Buenos Aires meeting of the Mercosur trade bloc in 2016.

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