DML News brings you the following information from REUTERS.COM:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will meet with Venezuelan opposition leaders in Lima, Peru on Friday, White House officials said, part of a U.S. push to galvanize regional pressure against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

The Hill’s opinion contributor David Smilde, a Senior Fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America, explains what Pence faces as he meets with leaders facing a significant crisis in the country. He writes:

The ever-worsening crisis in Venezuela will be a significant challenge confronting Vice President Mike Pence on his trip to Latin America this Friday. As the 8th annual Summit of the Americas takes place this weekend in Lima, Pence needs to recognize the significant efforts of regional leaders to address the Venezuela crisis and avoid the temptation to take ownership of the issue.

Sliding into default and officially in hyper-inflation, Venezuela’s economy is projected to contract by 15 percent this year. Data from August 2017 showed that 60 percent of Venezuelans went to bed hungry because they could not buy enough food. All of this has led about a million and a half Venezuelans to emigrate, straining the institutions and resources of most countries in the region.

Change does not appear forthcoming from inside Venezuela, as the Maduro government has moved up presidential elections, trying to take advantage of disarray in the opposition as well as a large segment of the population’s disillusionment with the country’s electoral institutions. It is an excruciating situation and will rightfully be at the center of discussion at the summit.

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