US President Donald Trumo, in the White House, Washington, on March 6, 2018
US President Donald Trump will travel to Peru in April to attend the Summit of the Americas, after which he will visit Colombia on his first trip to Latin America as president, a White House official told AFP.
The announcement puts an end to speculation about Trump’s participation in the hemispheric forum, which will take place in Lima from April 13 to 14, and shows an approach towards Colombia, one of its main allies in the region, in the middle of the tense relationship of Washington with its southern neighbors.
The Summit of the Americas, launched in Miami in 1994, has traditionally been a forum for the United States to influence issues that affect the hemisphere.
But the assistance of the US president had not been officially confirmed after the conversation he had at the beginning of the week with the host, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Now the White House says Trump will go to Peru, after a conversation with Argentine President Mauricio Macri.
During Friday’s call with Macri, the US president „highlighted the need for the countries of the region to work together to restore democracy to the great people of Venezuela,“ according to the White House.
The serious institutional, economic and social crisis that Venezuela is going through, whose solution is a priority for the Trump government in Latin America, will undoubtedly be present in the debates in Lima.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, whom Trump has called „dictator“, has assured that he will attend the meeting, although Peru assured that his presence will not be welcome.
The VIII Summit of the Americas, convened under the slogan „Democratic Governance against Corruption,“ will be the first held since Trump took office.
Washington reaffirmed last week its commitment to the fight against narcotics in Colombia, which months ago questioned, generating tensions with Bogota.
On March 1, just one month after Trump threatened to suspend aid to countries that send drugs to the United States, the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon, reported in Bogotá on „a joint commitment of Colombia and the United States. to expand counter-narcotics cooperation over the next five years. “
Colombia is the world’s leading coca leaf grower, the raw material for cocaine, with 146,000 hectares of crops, and also the largest producer, with 866 tons in 2016, according to the UN.
The United States, the main consumer of this drug, has granted millions in aid to Colombia since the mid-1990s to stop this problem.