USA touts vision for free and prosperous Americas

USA touts vision for free and prosperous Americas

USA touts vision for free and prosperous Americas

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outlined the Trump administration's vision for Latin America for the first time Thursday, describing the region as a vital, enduring US partner despite recent frictions over immigration and trade.

After his speech, Tillerson will head to Mexico City, Mexico.

"In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people", Tillerson said.

Kicking off his first Latin American tour since being named secretary of state, former oilman Rex Tillerson met with his Mexican counterpart and was later due to talk trade, crime and immigration with President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The United States' top diplomat set out a vision for a free and prosperous Americas on Thursday, damning what he called the failed model of Venezuela's "corrupt and hostile" regime.

Tillerson's comments were part of a speech entitled U.S. Engagement in the Western Hemisphere at the Blanton Auditorium on the Edgar A. Smith Building at the University of Texas campus. "But there is no surprise that an agreement put in place 30 years ago, before the advance of the digital age and the digital economy, before Chinese rise as the second economy, the NAFTA needs to be modernized".

Tillerson also criticized Russian Federation for selling weapons to authoritarian governments in Latin America.

One of the main objectives of this trip to Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Colombia and Jamaica is, according to senior officials of the State Department this week, to increase pressure on Maduro. But that economic growth can only spring from strong, stable governments, he said.

Tillerson insisted the Trump administration was not advocating "regime change" in Venezuela but said it would be "easiest" if Maduro chose to leave power on his own.

The focus of the SoS' trip will be the growing crisis in Venezuela, as all of his hosts are members of the Lima Group, a Latin American collective created to coordinate a response to the political and economic turmoil in the Bolivarian country.

"I think this will be a visit in which we'll be able to express and explain our concerns, to explain our limits, and also to try to maintain the dialogue and the communication which I think is extremely important to avoid unnecessary crisis", De la Mora said.

He called on Latin America to do the same.

A previous effort by the Trump administration to rally support on Venezuela, made in June at a meeting of the Organization of American States, failed as critics of Maduro splintered over what approach to take.

Related news