Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Americas leaders vow to stem systemic corruption, confront Nicolas Maduro


Leaders from throughout the Americas on Saturday vowed to confront systemic corruption with an accord aimed at improving transparency and boosting civil society at a time when graft scandals plague many of their own governments.

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra started the Summit of the Americas’ first full session asking the Western Hemisphere leaders to approve 57 action points he said would constitute a base for preventing corruption.

The “Lima Commitment: Democratic Governance Against Corruption” was approved with a round of applause, though analysts were skeptical that it will lead to any tangible change.

Many heads of state in attendance lead administrations that face allegations of misusing public funds, obstructing justice and accepting bribes.

“The hard part will come when leaders return home,” said Shannon O’Neil, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Numerous leaders called on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to accept humanitarian aid as his nation confronts a crippling economic crisis and urged those gathered not to accept the results of an upcoming presidential election in the embattled South American nation.

“We won’t recognize the results of an election designed to disguise a dictatorship,” said Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, one of the most outspoken on Venezuela.

Bolivian President Evo Morales and Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez were among the few voices of support for Venezuela, calling on the US to drop sanctions against their ally and decrying US Vice President Mike Pence’s words criticizing the nation.

“Our region isn’t the backyard of anybody,” Morales said, echoing Maduro’s comments earlier in the week after US President Donald Trump decided to skip the summit, which some considered a snub to the region.

Pence on Saturday said that the US would submit a bid to host the next summit in 2021 in an apparent act to quell doubts about the nation’s commitment to the region.

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