US VP drops summit banquet, abruptly goes to hotel in Peru


For Pence, the calls and schedule changes served as the latest example of his supporting role here in place of Trump, who pulled out of the summit so he could manage the US response to the suspected chemical attack in Syria.

Pence urged the extra measures as he met with Venezuelan opposition figures in Lima who called for more sanctions and "intervention" in their crisis-hit country.

"Pence plans to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the Summit of the Americas on Saturday morning", Agen said as quoted by the White House press pool on Friday.

Recently, U.S. President Donald Trump directed the deployment of National Guard troops to the U.S. -Mexico border to combat illegal migration and drug smuggling.

It will be the first meeting between the two leaders.

Despite Trump's absence, USA officials sought to use the summit to counter China's rising influence in Latin America and condemn Venezuela's government.

The US vice president's meeting with the Venezuelan opposition included Julio Borges, an opposition lawmaker and former speaker of the National Assembly, David Smolansky, former mayor of the city of El Hatillo, Carlos Vecchio, political coordinator of the Popular Will party he co-founded with opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, and Antonio Ledezma, former mayor of Caracas.

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Maduro accuses the United States of helping the opposition to undermine his authority by waging what he calls economic "sabotage" in Venezuela.

Shortly after arriving in Lima, Pence announced that the USA would provide almost $16 million in humanitarian assistance to Venezuelans who have fled their country and met with opposition leaders who pleaded for more sanctions.

Pence is filling in for President Donald Trump at the Summit of the Americas in Lima after the president pulled out to focus on the US response to an apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Ana Quintana, a senior policy analyst on Latin America and the Western Hemisphere for the Heritage Foundation, said Pence would seek to "continue the momentum" of USA policy on Venezuela.

But Ross also said Washington wants Latin American nations to do more to reduce trade barriers.

"Today, we have the president of the United States facing a trade war with China and other countries", Pinera said on a panel at a joint business summit on Friday.

In meetings with Latin American leaders, the vice president is expected to promote good governance and democratic institutions.