WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
13 Apr 2018 | Media Advisory

Latin America Prepares for Vice President Pence’s Visit

Washington, D.C.—Vice President Mike Pence will arrive Friday, April 13 in Lima, Peru for the Summit of the Americas, a meeting of the heads of state of Western Hemisphere nations held every three years. Pence is attending the Summit after President Trump canceled what would have been his first trip as president to Latin America, citing the need to oversee a possible U.S. response to chemical attacks Syria. The theme of this particular Summit is “Democratic Governance against Corruption.”  (Ironically, the president of Peru, who, as host selected the theme of the gathering, resigned three weeks ago to avoid impeachment in a corruption-related scandal.)

However, corruption is not the only issue that will be in play at this gathering of hemispheric leaders. Other issues that will guide or influence the discussion include the crisis in Venezuela, the deterioration of democracy in Brazil, the leadership transition in Cuba, political upheaval in Honduras that is limiting anti-corruption work, and the escalating tensions between the United States and Mexico. Observers will be watching to see how Vice President Pence interacts with other leaders and what kind of tone he sets in his remarks.

Experts at the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), a leading research and advocacy organization advancing human rights in the Americas, will be attending the Summit in Lima, and are available to provide on-the-ground commentary about the meeting:

  • WOLA President Matt Clausen, who prior to joining WOLA in January 2017 has over 15 years of experience in U.S.-Latin America policy and human rights work. This is the fourth Summit of the Americas that he is attending.
  • WOLA Vice President for Programs Geoff Thale, who tracks U.S. policy trends in Latin America, with particular emphasis on Central America and Cuba.

Explore other WOLA resources related to issues that may come to the forefront at the Summit:

  • WOLA’s Venezuelan Politics and Human Rights Blog, a timely source of analysis on recent developments in Venezuela, and the debate over how the international community should respond to democratic backsliding in the country.
  • “Cuba After the Castros,” an analysis in Foreign Affairs about what Cuba’s upcoming change in political leadership means for the Cuban people and for U.S. relations with the island.
  • Colombia’s imperiled peace deal: a New York Times op-ed that examines why Colombia’s struggle to reintegrate former guerrilla fighters puts the country’s historic 2016 peace deal at risk, and how the United States and other foreign donors can help.
  • Lula’s imprisonment casts doubt on the independence of Brazil’s governing institutions: a statement about recent political upheaval in Brazil.
  • A series of fact sheets related to border security, migration, and asylum seekers in the United States, Mexico, and Central America.
  • Migrant caravans are no reason to send the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border: a WOLA analysis.
  • Lessons from Guatemala’s anti-impunity commission: a report looking at successful models for fighting corruption.
  • Alternatives to U.S. military action in Venezuela: a New York Times op-ed that discusses specific ways the U.S. government and its allies can successfully pressure the Venezuelan government into holding legitimate elections.