U.S. Vice President Mike Pence began a visit to Guatemala, Brazil and Ecuador on Monday with the chief goal of putting pressure on Venezuela to hold new elections. In addition, Pence will discuss trade, anti-drug policies, and security with the presidents of the three countries, his office announced.
“The vice president will thank our partners in the region for the actions they have taken to further isolate Venezuela economically and diplomatically, but will also ask them to do more,” a statement from Pence’s office read. “We are also focusing on assisting the victims of the volcano in Guatemala, assisting Ecuador to secure its borders, and strengthening trade relations with Brazil.”
In recent telephone conversations with several Latin American presidents, Pence is urging the expulsion of Venezuela from the Organization of American States as well as an economic boycott.
When he meets with Ecuador President Lenin Moreno, Pence’s office says that combating the drug trade on the Pacific coast and the asylum status of Julian Assange will also be on the agenda.
In August 2017, Pence attended the Summit of the Americas in Lima, and visited Colombia, Argentina, Chile and Panama, in addition to Peru.
This is the first visit to Ecuador by a U.S. vice president since George H.W. Bush met with former president León Febres Cordero in 1984.