A Peruvian official has reportedly said new Peru President Martín Vizcarra is expected to uphold the ban of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from the upcoming Summit of the Americas, according to the Associated Press.
When questioned on the issue in public, however, Vizcarra told reporters Tuesday that he would leave the matter up to diplomats in the country’s Foreign Ministry, per a report from Reuters. The AP cited an anonymous official from the ministry as confirming Vizcarra’s and Peru’s stance on Maduro’s potential participation.
“Our foreign policy is a delicate matter that we must leave in the hands of specialists,” Vizcarra said to reporters. “The Foreign Ministry is taking the corresponding decisions that we’ll support.”
In February, former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said that Maduro would not be welcome at the summit where regional leaders from the Western Hemisphere meet. The event, which occurs every three to four years, is scheduled to begin April 13 in Lima and marks the first time Peru has acted as host for the regional gathering.
Maduro has insisted, however, that he will attend the summit anyways regardless of a ban. What is unclear is how Peruvian immigration authorities will be instructed to act if Maduro comes despite not being invited.
The Venezuelan leader has been called a dictator by other regional leaders, including Kuczynski, as the South American country descends every day deeper into a crippling economic crisis.
Though some analysts, like Eric Farnsworth of the America’s Society/Council of the Americas, have said Vizcarra should consider postponing the congregation, Peru’s new president said the summit will continue as planned.
This year’s Summit of the Americas is especially noteworthy because controversial U.S. President Donald Trump is also expected to be in attendance. Trump’s negative comments towards Mexico and Latin America as a whole are sure to be talking points as the U.S. balances its foreign affairs in the region with Trump’s isolationist attitude.