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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Mike Pence makes his third trip to Latin America

Por Damian

The vice president of the United States, Mike Pence, is preparing to make his third trip to Latin America this week, focused on the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Venezuela. His previous visits also highlighted US efforts to isolate the socialist government from President Nicolás Maduro, reported El Nuevo Herald website.

"The reason why Pence is going to go can be summed up in one word: Venezuela", said Brian Winter, editor in chief of Americas Quarterly magazine. The US authorities "believe that Maduro is susceptible to pressure from the rest of the region and are testing each tool at hand to try to tighten the screws to Maduro."

The trip occurs just when relations between the United States and Brazil are at a standstill, as is Brazil itself. The South American country is recovering from a colossal corruption scandal, struggling to recover from a deep recession and trying to look beyond the months left to the government of President Michel Temer before the October elections.

Temer, whom the prosecution has twice accused of corruption, is Brazil's least popular president in a generation, which calls into question what his government could do if they agreed to something with Pence. The visit will also take place just when most Brazilians will be submerged in the World Cup. Brazil plays against Serbia on Wednesday.

At his next stop in Ecuador, Pence is expected to also address the concerns of the United States for Venezuela. The government of the Andean nation has begun to distance itself from Maduro, but disappointed Washington when it abstained in a recent vote at the Organization of American States on a resolution that could trigger a process of suspension of Venezuela from the OAS.

The vice president will visit Guatemala later, to meet with those affected by a volcanic eruption and analyze help.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on Venezuela, but the government of President Donald Trump hopes to persuade Brazil and other countries in the region to increase pressure on the Maduro government. Maduro won a second six-year term in May, in an election boycotted by the main opposition parties and widely criticized by the United States and other governments.

Venezuela, which has the largest oil reserves in the world, was once one of the richest countries in the region. But mismanagement and falling oil prices resulted in a deep economic and political crisis. In the country there is a shortage of food and medicine, and more than a million Venezuelans have left their homeland in recent years.

Brazil has received tens of thousands of these migrants, many of whom arrive at the border malnourished and with health problems. Pence will visit a facility for migrants in Manaus, the capital of the border state of Amazonas, among other activities that he will carry out in Latin America.