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The Latest: Pence: ‘We are with the people of Venezuela’

Mike Pence, Javier Pique
The Associated Press

LIMA, Peru (AP) — The Latest on Vice President Mike Pence’s trip to Latin America (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says the United States stands with Venezuelans fleeing the rule of President Nicolas Maduro.

Pence said in a meeting Friday with Venezuelan opposition leaders in Lima, Peru, that “we are with you to see freedom once again.”

The vice president says Maduro has turned Venezuela into a dictatorship and has brought about “abject misery.”

Pence says he will be calling on U.S. allies to provide additional humanitarian aid during the Summit of the Americas in Lima.

Pence says, “We want one message to be clear: We are with the people of Venezuela.”

Opposition leader David Smolansky says Maduro’s government “has become a threat to the region.”

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4:40 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S. will provide nearly $16 million in humanitarian aid for Venezuelans who have fled their country during the political crisis under President Nicolas Maduro.

Pence said Friday in Lima, Peru, that the aid will help Venezuelans in Colombia and Brazil access safe drinking water, shelters, and work and educational opportunities.

The U.S. vice president says Maduro has turned Venezuela into a dictatorship. He says, “We want one message to be clear: We are with the people of Venezuela.”

The funds are through the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Pence is in Lima for an international summit. He was meeting with Venezuelan opposition leaders. They include National Assembly President Julio Borges and former Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma.

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3:05 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in Peru for a Latin American summit at which he’s expected to push a tough line on Venezuela and point to the U.S. as an ideal trading partner in the region.

Pence is filling in for President Donald Trump at the Summit of the Americas in Lima after the president pulled out to focus on the U.S. response to an apparent chemical weapons attack in Syria.

The vice president is expected to urge Latin American leaders to maintain pressure on the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. He’ll also discuss the influence of Chinese trade in the region.

Pence is expected to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

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12:20 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence plans to promote the U.S. as a steady trading partner and press Latin American partners to further isolate Venezuela during his weekend trip to Peru.

Pence is departing for the Summit of the Americas in Lima on Friday. He’ll be subbing for President Donald Trump after the president pulled out of his first planned visit to Latin America to manage the U.S. response to an apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria.

In meetings with Latin American leaders, the vice president is expected to promote good governance and democratic institutions. He’s also expected to urge Latin American allies to maintain pressure on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

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