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 Vice President Mike Pence
Vice President Mike Pence (Photo: USAF / Valerie Halbert via MGN Online)

Pence to meet with 4 Latin American leaders during summit


By: KEN THOMAS, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence plans to meet with four Latin American leaders during his weekend trip to Peru for an international summit where he is filling in for President Donald Trump.

Pence will meet Saturday with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra and President Mauricio Macri of Argentina. The White House said Thursday that the vice president is also expected to hold a multi-lateral meeting with several Caribbean leaders.

Trump pulled out of the summit to oversee the U.S. response to an apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria.

Pence is expected to use the summit to push for a tougher response to what the U.S. considers the rise of dictatorship in Venezuela.

With the White House's support, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has been barred from the meeting over his plans to hold a presidential election that the opposition is boycotting and many foreign governments consider a sham. The U.S. has sanctioned Maduro and dozens of top officials, accusing the country of human rights abuses and sliding into a dictatorship.

The vice president is also expected to try to counter Chinese attempts to increase its economic influence in the Americas. Pence's visit to the region will come as the Trump administration is embroiled in an escalating trade fight with China and as the president has been pushing a tougher line on immigration and seeking stronger protections along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Pence will attend the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, on Friday and Saturday. Trump had planned to attend the summit and also travel to Bogota, Colombia, but backed out after the attack in Syria. The vice president was having a lunch with congressional leaders on Thursday in advance of his trip.

President Donald Trump's daughter and senior adviser will also be part of the U.S. delegation to the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, led by Vice President Mike Pence.

Ivanka Trump plans to promote women's economic empowerment and female-owned businesses during the Latin American summit this week.

Ivanka Trump says she plans to announce an initiative "to propel women's economic empowerment in the region" and will stop at Lima's stock exchange to meet with female corporate leaders and entrepreneurs.

She also plans to highlight the participation of women in the economy at a female-owned business that makes organic products.

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