U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced earlier this month that he will tour some Latin American cities throughout the month of August. The five stops will include Panama City, Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, Cartagena, and Bogotá.
The stop scheduled for the Argentinian capital is expected to be of utmost importance, given that said city will be hosting the 2018 G-20 summit.
Pence will meet with presidents and business leaders of each country, in an effort to speak more directly with the governments affected by the proposed 2018 budget cuts to Latin American aid.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was questioned about the proposed budget cuts and clarified that “this is no way an indication that somehow our interest is diminished in the region,” and that “there is substantial money in the budget to continue our commitment to support security and law enforcement measures”.
Pence followed the announcement of this trip with various remarks. He mentioned abrupt changes in regards to the previous administration’s actions towards Cuba, Venezuela, and the ‘Northern Triangle’ made up by Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The comments were ambitious, and presented many of the same goals as many previous leaders – to restore democracy in Cuba and Venezuela, and to stop the activity of gangs and the subsequent flow of illegal drugs and immigrants out of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.
During the summit in Miami, co-chaired by Mexico, with representatives from Central American nations, future plans were also revealed. The Vice President stated that the summit had already yielded positive results – “…the Northern Triangle governments have now committed to enact the kind of reforms to improve their business climates, including minimizing red tape, improving transparency, and streamlining business formalization and processes”.
The VP then received questions. He commented on the rocky start to the US-Mexico relations under the current administration; the common terms they have to discuss such as immigration and border security. Pence mentioned a recently signed trade deal involving sugar between the two nations, and ultimately affirmed their commitment to Mexico as a key partner in the western hemisphere. “I can assure all those present that we’re going to continue to work with Mexico as a critical partner in the region, critical partner in this hemisphere, and dealing with the issues of promoting security in the region and promoting prosperity in the region is in the interest of the United States of America.”