The Eighth Summit of the Americas gets underway in Lima

World Today

The eighth Summit of the Americas is underway in Lima, Peru with a focus on regional corruption and the crisis in Venezuela.  The meeting comes despite the no-show of some of the region’s most high-profile leaders.

CGTN’s Dan Collyns reports.

More than 30 leaders from the western hemisphere have been discussing key issues which affect their region. Tackling corruption, trade and Venezuela’s deepening crisis have all been on the agenda. 

But it’s been a more subdued gathering, with the absence of the region’s most high-profile and controversial leaders: Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela, who was barred from coming by host country Peru; Cuba’s Raul Castro, who cancelled what would have been his last official foreign trip before handing over power; and U.S. President Donald Trump, who bowed out ahead of Friday’s airstrikes on Syria.

There’s been broad support for the U.S. action and a condemnation of the use of alleged chemical weapons by Syria, but Bolivia’s President Evo Morales is an exception. In a tweet, he called the U.S. action a “deranged attack on a brother country.”

Morales also said he regretted the absence of Maduro.

Nevertheless, most of the heads of state condemned the humanitarian and financial situation in Venezuela. The presidents of Argentina and Colombia said the region should not recognize next months’ elections in Venezuela.  

While some analysts say the summit lacked key figures, others say there was more consensus on key issues due to those absences. Behind the scenes, the U.S. continued to push itself as the number one commercial partner but Latin American nations say they want to keep their options open.

For more on the Summit of the Americas, CGTN’s Susan Roberts spoke with Latin American analyst Rafael Salies.