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Latin American leaders slam US divisive policies

Mexican president ponders cancelling US trip as Trump begins plans for wall

LATIN AMERICAN leaders united on Wednesday to condemn US President Donald Trump’s affirmation of his plans to build his infamous Mexican border wall and turn away Syrian refugees.

Heads of state gathered at the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit in the Dominican Republic as Mr Trump began moves to build a wall cutting the US off from Latin America.

Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez said his country would take action to confront the changes, with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa calling on the region to “assume a clear position in defence of migrants, not only from Latin America and the Caribbean, but the entire world.” 

Cuban President Raul Castro called on regional nations to unite in their common interests. “Never has it been more necessary to tread the path of unity, recognising that we have numerous interests in common,” he said. “Working for unity in diversity is a necessity that cannot be postponed.”

Mr Castro reiterated his support for the people and government of Venezuela and condemned actions against the Bolivarian revolution, as well as last year’s legislative coup against Brazilian Workers’ Party president Dilma Rousseff.

Outgoing US president Barack Obama extended his decree declaring Venezuela a threat to national security for another year just before leaving office last week.

But Mr Castro also said he would continue negotiations towards detente begun under Mr Obama with the Trump administration in the “framework of equality,” without conceding Cuba’s sovereignty or independence. 

“It would be desirable for the new US government to opt for respect for the region, although it is worrying that it has declared intentions that put at risk our interests in the spheres of commerce, employment, migration and the environment.” 

Meanwhile Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who wasn’t at the summit, has fiercely rejected Mr Trump’s claims that Mexico will be made pay for the wall and suggested he might cancel his planned visit to Washington on Tuesday. 

Mr Pena said he would await reports from a high-level team of Mexican officials currently meeting with the Trump administration in Washington before deciding how to proceed.

And mayors, state governors and legislators in New York, Seattle and other “sanctuary cities” vowed to resist Mr Trump’s threat to remove federal funding unless they end their policies of declining to prosecute or co-operate in the deportation of illegal immigrants. 


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