Trump In­flu­ences Talks at Latin Amer­i­can, Caribbean Sum­mit

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL - --- As­so­ci­ated Press

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies dom­i­nated talk on Wed­nes­day at a sum­mit of Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean lead­ers who vowed to de­fend the rights of mi­grant com­mu­ni­ties.

The lead­ers veered off script af­ter Trump signed ex­ec­u­tive ac­tions call­ing for con­struc­tion of a bor­der wall and strip­ping sup­port for so-called sanc­tu­ary cities. Many of the lead­ers also war­ily an­tic­i­pated his sup­port for pro­tec­tion­ist mea­sures.

“It’s wor­ri­some that his in­ten­tions put our com­mer­cial, em­ploy­ment, mi­gra­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal in­ter­ests at risk,” said Cuban Pres­i­dent Raul Cas­tro, whose coun­try is con­tin­u­ing to nor­mal­ize re­la­tions with the United States.

He was among sev­eral lead­ers at­tend­ing a sum­mit in the Do­mini­can Repub­lic or­ga­nized by the 33-na­tion group­ing of the Com­mu­nity of Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean States that took place days af­ter Trump took office. The group’s new leader, El Sal­vador Pres­i­dent Sal­vador Sanchez, said his coun­try would take ac­tion to con­front changes that were oc­cur­ring on a global scale.

Lead­ers pledged to re­ject the crim­i­nal­iza­tion of im­mi­gra­tion and de­fend the rights of mi­grants. Ecuadorean Pres­i­dent Rafael Cor­rea called upon ev­ery­one to “as­sume a clear po­si­tion in de­fence of mi­grants, not only from Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean, but the en­tire world.”

Chilean For­eign Min­is­ter Her­aldo Munoz said that dur­ing the group’s first meet­ing, which was held be­hind closed doors, an at­ti­tude op­pos­ing pro­tec­tion­ism and closed bor­ders pre­vailed.

“Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean have taken a stand in favour of the in­te­gra­tion, in favour of the open­ing, in favour of the preser­va­tion of the ad­vances that have been made in the mat­ter of free trade,” he said.

Munoz, how­ever, said that there would be no dis­cus­sion of Trump’s with­drawal on Mon­day from the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship be­cause it only af­fects three coun­tries in the re­gion: Chile, Peru and Mex­ico.

The pres­i­dents of Chile, Mex­ico and Colom­bia an­nounced at the last minute that they would not be at­tend­ing the sum­mit, which only drew 10 pres­i­dents and two prime min­is­ters.

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