Lima, Peru is at the center of the Western Hemisphere right now as political leaders from across the Americas descended upon the Andean country’s capital Friday for the two-day Summit of the Americas.
Though certain figures were lacking, notably U.S. President Donald Trump and Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, the summit still began with its overlying theme of anti-corruption, which new Peru President Martín Vizcarra has made a priority for his administration. On top of Peru’s recent political turmoil, Brazil’s recent arrest of former president Lula da Silva and the arrest of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli have shown that corruption has consistently reached the very top ranks of Latin American societies.
“We have come to a boiling point that has to change course,” Vizcarra said of corruption in the region during a Friday panel. “We have to assume true responsibilities and we have to move on from rhetoric to concrete actions.”
After Friday’s inauguration, much of the focus is sure to hone in on the wide-scale reach of the Odebrecht scandal in the region and the deepening crisis in Venezuela.
The opening day was soured by the confirmation that three Ecuadorian journalists kidnapped by Colombian FARC dissidents had been killed. Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno left Peru Thursday just a few hours after having landed in Lima in order to be with the families of the journalists.
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