Latin America unfazed by Trump bypassing summit

Trump to skip Americas summit to oversee Syria response

Trump was scheduled to attend the eighth Summit of the Americans in Lima, Peru on Friday and Saturday before continuing on to Bogota, Colombia on Sunday.

Last year, Pence had traveled to the South America to meet with the presidents of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Panama to increase the pressure against the Maduro regime and negotiate better trade deals that benefit American workers.

Trump said late Monday that the US will respond "forcefully" to a suspected chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime over the weekend, after suggesting earlier that Russian President Vladimir Putin may share responsibility.

The US has strongly opposed the chemical attack, accusing Iran and Russian Federation of backing the Syrian government that is being held responsible for carrying out the attack.

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The U.S. response to Syria also disrupted the travel plans of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who canceled a weekend trip to Nevada and San Francisco.

White House officials said the decision to miss the summit was made Monday, adding that the raid of the office of Trump attorney Michael Cohen was not a factor in the decision. Vice-president Mike Pence will make the trip in his stead. It's also a missed opportunity for Trump to build bridges in the region; he's widely unpopular with Latin Americans thanks, in part, to his statements on immigration. Trump has vowed to respond "forcefully", warning that Russian Federation or any other nation found to share responsibility will "pay a price". Trump values his European allies and has often said so.

The White House announced on Tuesday that Donald Trump will not travel to South America this week as planned.

That summit was expected to mark an important turning point in Trump's relationship with Latin American nations, but people close to him have said that he wasn't all that enthusiastic about the trip and is glad to have found a legitimate reason to call it off.

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