Eighth Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru
6 Apr 2018
The Organization of American States will hold its triannual ‘Summit of the Americas’ in Lima, Peru from 10 to 14 April 2018, with the summit proper taking place between 13 to 14 April. This will be the eighth incarnation of the Summit, with the seventh Summit having taken place in Panama. At least 20 heads of state are set to attend including US President Donald Trump. Peru has revoked the invitation to President Maduro of Venezuela because of Maduro’s plans to hold early elections and bar opposition parties from competing.
- The Eighth Summit of the Americas, organised by the Organization of American States, is set to take place on 10 and 14 April 2018, with the summit proper taking place from 13 to 14 April.
- The Peruvian capital of Lima will host events in 2018.
- At least 20 heads of state are set to attend the summit, including President Trump. President Maduro of Venezuela has been barred.
Travel Information: The Organization of American States will hold its triannual ‘Summit of the Americas’ in Lima, Peru from 10 to 14 April 2018, with the summit proper taking place between 13 to 14 April. This will be the eighth incarnation of the Summit, with the seventh Summit having taken place in Panama. At least 20 heads of state are set to attend including US President Donald Trump. Peru has revoked the invitation to President Maduro of Venezuela because of Maduro’s plans to hold early elections and bar opposition parties from competing.
What is the Summit?
Arranged by the Organization of American States, the Summit of the Americas is the only meeting of all 35 countries in the Americas. Since its inception, it has focussed on increasing economic competitiveness, fostering growth and development, improving regional and citizen security, and promoting democracy and human rights in the region. The first Summit was hosted by the United States in 1994.
Solace Global Comment
Impact and Implication
The atmosphere at the Summit is not expected to be optimistic. Commentators have noted that many of the attendees are on their way out of office, notably the leaders of Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia (Latin America’s three most populous nations). A host of leaders suffer from record low approval ratings. This year will also finally see the end of the Castro leadership in Cuba, with Raul Castro set to step down in April 2018. Many observers do not believe that much will be achieved during the summit.
Some have suggested that US regional leadership is on the decline. President Trump has been accused of not having a clear direction for leadership in the region and this marks his first visit to Latin America after longer than a year in office. His position on the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) has been inconsistent and he has been accused of riling the political leadership in the region thanks to his comments on migration issues (notably in relation to Mexico). Trump has cancelled at least two meetings with Mexico’s President Nieto while President Obama visited Mexico twice in his first year in office. President Trump has struck a more hard-line position towards Cuba, cooling ties between the two countries. By contrast, the 2015 Summit of the Americas in Panama was largely held in a positive atmosphere thanks to a normalisation of ties between the US and Cuba. The intent behind President Trump’s attendance remains unclear. He is believed to have had a good rapport with former Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski but is not expected to have the same relationship with new Peruvian president, Martín Vizcarra. Trump may use the Summit to appeal to his base by continuing his anti-immigration rhetoric. If this is the case, it is likely to cause further rifts between the United States and Latin American nations.
Venezuela’s current situation is a clear issue at the Summit, especially considering that the Government of Peru has proposed “Democratic Governance against Corruption” as the theme for the event. Venezuela’s invitation has been cancelled due to of President Maduro’s plans to hold early elections and bar opposition parties from competing. It is unclear how the country’s descent into instability will factor into events at the Summit. President Trump and the United States may attempt to show leadership by making the situation in Venezuela a focus. However, since he came to power, the Trump White House has included Venezuela in the travel ban which originally targeted Muslim-majority nations but has done little else to deal with Maduro and his leadership. Indeed, there is nobody at the State Department currently leading the Western Hemisphere Bureau.
While the theme of “Democratic Governance against Corruption” is commendable, commentators do not hold out much hope that much action will be taken on this front. This Summit comes just weeks after former Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski was forced from office in the ongoing Obredecht scandal which has afflicted most of the continent. Moreover, President Temer of Brazil also faces corruption allegations as have his two most recent predecessors. Several other Latin American leaders are under investigation for graft, not to mention the ongoing probe into Russia’s involvement into the 2016 US Elections.
Security is expected to be tight in Lima, especially given the presence of Donald Trump. Around 600 US military personnel have been permitted entry to secure President Trump during his trip by act of the Peruvian Congress. US military personnel are set to be in country for 18 days. Most international delegations are expected to arrive through Jorge Chávez International Airport in Lima. Travellers can expect delays at the airport as security is stepped up. The Summit itself will be held in the Lima Convention Centre in Peru’s capital as well as events at the Lima Westin Hotel, the Gran Teatro Nacional, and the Palace of Government. Road closures are expected in the vicinity of these locations along with transport disruptions.
Travellers are advised to expect increased travel disruption before, during, and after this Summit. It is important to allow for more time to fulfil travel itineraries during this period and to undertake careful journey management planning. Travellers should consider delaying their journeys to Lima until after the event takes place, if possible.
The locations of the event are likely to be more secure than usual thanks to the enhanced security measures and while terrorism is a potential, the likelihood of an attack is very low. If within the vicinity of the Summit, travellers are advised to adhere to the instructions of security officials; noncompliance will likely be met with a forceful response. Travellers should also note the potential for protests, especially when considering the presence of President Trump and the ongoing political disruption in Peru. All protests should be avoided as they have potential to turn violent with little notice and police may institute more aggressive measures than usual to disperse crowds.
For most travel to Peru, including the capital Lima, Solace Global would advised clients to employ the minimum of an airport meet and greet and a security-trained driver for all travel. It is advisable that this level of security is increased for other areas of the country, including the less secure borders with Colombia and Ecuador. Travellers are also advised to use travel-tracking technology with an intelligence feed. This should enable a traveller to be alerted of any security updates within their vicinity, and to update others of their movements in case of an emergency.
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