United States president Donald Trump will make his Latin America debut next month, visiting Peru and Colombia after harsh rhetoric towards Hispanic migrants and neighbors to the south. Trump will travel to Peru to attend the Summit of the Americas in Lima on April 13-14, a gathering of leaders from across the Western Hemisphere, and from there he will visit Colombia.
The announcement ends speculation that Trump may skip the summit entirely. He is the first president since Bill Clinton not to have visited Latin America during his first year in office.
As recently as this week — after Trump spoke to the summit host, Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski — the White House refused to say whether Trump would attend.
When Trump travels south he is likely to encounter protests and perhaps a hesitant welcome from fellow heads of state and government. Trump has long courted controversy in the region. His election campaign was marked by accusations of Mexicans sending “rapists” over the border.
He suggested Colombia was not doing enough to stop cocaine coming to the United States, has promised to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and threatened to tear up a trade deal with Mexico and Canada.
Argentina and Brazil also face the prospect of punitive tariffs on steel exports after Trump’s controversial announcement last week.