#Vice President #Mike Pence embarked on Sunday for a weeklong trip to South and Central America countries. His first stop was in the Colombian city of Cartagena, where he met with President Juan Manuel Santos, who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his efforts on promoting the peace with the guerrilla movement FARC, after over half a century of conflicts.

In Colombia, he will also visit the capital Bogota. The two countries have very close ties, especially on drug enforcement (Colombia is one of the biggest producers and exporters of cocaine to the U.S.). This time though the deepening #Crisis In Venezuela is likely to dominate the conversations.

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Last week, President Trump said that he is “not ruling out a military option in Venezuela”. According to Chicago Tribune, President Santos said that a military intervention “shouldn’t even be considered” and would be unacceptable.

Increasing diplomatic pressure

Still, according to Chicago Tribune, the Vice President told reporters at a joint press conference that “Venezuela is sliding into dictatorship”. Nevertheless, he put it mildly in comparison with the harsh statement by President Trump, who is on vacation at his private golf club in New Jersey. Mr. Pence said that he was sent in mission to Latin America with the specific aim of achieving the restoration of democracy in Latin America by “peaceable means”.

Recently, 11 Latin American countries and Canada signed a joint resolution demanding the restoration of the democracy in the country, Chicago Tribune reports.

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For the countries, the elections in Venezuela were carried out illegally by President Nicolas Maduro. The opposing parties didn’t participate in the poll that elected a new Assembly with the power to modify the constitution. One of the newly elected parliamentarians is a son of the President himself.

The South American trade bloc Mercosur (made up by Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina) suspended Venezuela indefinitely until democracy is restored in the country. The crisis in Venezuela began in 2015 but reached a new height following the elections. Thousands of people are on the streets across the country in demonstrations against the government. In turn, the U.S. imposed sanctions on several Venezuela government officials, including President Maduro.

Although Venezuela sits in one of the biggest oil reserves in the world, it has suffered from the low prices of the commodity. The lack of foreign currency reserves forced the government to impose a restriction on imports that is causing frequent shortages of basic supplies and food.

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Trip includes visits to Argentina, Chile, and Panama

After visiting Bogota, Vice President Mike Pence will fly to Argentina, where he will meet with President Mauricio Macri. The Argentine leader is a close friend of Mr. Trump and was a business partner of him. Last April, he visited the President in the White House, in what was the first official visit of a South American President to Washington since Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

The next destinations of the Vice President in the continent will be Santiago, in Chile, where he will be received by President Michele Bachelet, and Panama City. After that, he will make his way back to Washington.