Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro will not be attending this month’s VIII Summit of the Americas in Peru, he said Tuesday, vowing instead to “stay at home with the Venezuelan people.”
This year’s summit has been the subject of considerable controversy over the past few months, with various nations threatening – and counter-threatening – to boycott the event.
The debacle began in February when Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski – since forced to resign amid a sprawling international corruption scandal – rescinded Venezuela’s invitation on the grounds that Maduro’s decision to call presidential elections in May was “undemocratic.”
The announcement by Peru, which is hosting this year’s summit in Lima on April 13 and 14, prompted widespread outbursts both in support of and protest against the move.
Maduro had initially vowed to attend the summit “come rain or shine, by air, land, or sea,” but on Tuesday while addressing Venezuela’s teaching community, the president made reference to the recent departures of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Kuczynski, and said he would boycott the event in favor of the alternative Peoples’ Summit.
The alternative summit is set to take place alongside the official event. The Peoples’ Summit is billed as an alternative to the Summit fo the Americas, in which social movements and progressives gather to counter neoliberal policies.
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