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Donald Trump will not attend the Summit of the Americas

Donald Trump will not attend the Summit of the Americas

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he would not be attending the Summit of the Americas in Peru, which will begin Friday, and will instead remain in Washington to see his country's response to the alleged chemical attack by the Syrian government in the city of Ghouta.

The week leading up to the Summit, which was first held in Miami in 1994, was marked by Mr Trump's decision to send US National Guard troops to the border with Mexico, and a fierce rebuke by the Mexican president, Enrique Pena Nieto, to Mr Trump's words. "I don't like talking about timing", he said.

Trump has vowed to take strong action after a suspected chemical weapons attack Saturday night on the Syrian town of Douma that killed at least 60 people and injured more than 1,000 others.

"You have the awkwardness out of the picture", said the diplomat, who cited Trump's unpopularity across Latin America. The summit, which is to include heads of state and government from the Western Hemisphere, takes place April 13-14.

Political analysts Farid Kahhat and Oscar Vidarte agreed that Washington not only puts Latin America low on its agenda, but also lacks any development vision for the hemisphere as a whole.

For many in Latin America, Trump's decision to skip the summit deepened the view that Trump does not care about the region. 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 canceled his plans to travel to South America later this week, choosing to stay in Washington to manage the US response to the Syrian crisis.

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Since Trump took power in January 2017, Vidarte said, "the topic that has dominated ties with Latin America has been the search for measures that will benefit his country more".

He called the attack "atrocious" and said the USA would respond "forcefully" within two days.

Richard Feinberg of the University of California, San Diego, who led Latin America policy in the Clinton White House, called the change in plans a "shocking abandonment of USA leadership in our own hemisphere" and said it "leaves a leadership vacuum that others will rush to fill".

White House officials said last week that Trump was not expected to meet with Cuban leader Raúl Castro, who is attending his last such gathering before a scheduled retirement later this month.

This will be the second trip to the region for Vice President Mike Pence. Trump has vowed to respond "forcefully", warning that Russian Federation or any other nation found to share responsibility will "pay a price".

Trump was also expected to use the speech to criticize Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, a leftist leader considered a dictator by his critics.

The White House did not respond to requests for a response. Trump's response to the attack has still not been disclosed, but there will be one coming, he assured.


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