Piñera to meet Trump on Chile-US ties, Venezuela crisis

SANTIAGO/WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump will receive Chilean President Sebastián Piñera on September 28 for a meeting in which they will discuss “the efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela,” according to the White House.

“President Trump and President Piñera will work on the strong alliance between the two nations in the search for a more prosperous, secure and democratic Western Hemisphere,” the White House said in a statement on Friday.

Both leaders will discuss the “shared commitment to policies for growth, the fight against corruption and illicit networks, strategic alliances in energy and cybersecurity, and efforts to restore democracy in Venezuela.”

Members of Lima Group, including Chile, announced earlier this year that the group had decided to withdraw the invitation for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to attend the Summit of the Americas held in Peru in April.

‘No democracy in Venezuela’, Chile’s Piñera tells Summit of the Americas

A day later, the U.S. State Department endorsed the decision, as well as the group’s rejection of the Venezuelan government’s alleged “unilateral” decision to set a date for presidential elections.

Also, several U.S. media outlets reported earlier this month that the Trump administration has talked secretly with rebellious Venezuelan military officers several times to discuss their plans to stage a coup in the South American country.

Trump said in August of last year that he would not rule out a “military option” in Venezuela “if necessary,” despite his aides’ opposition.

The U.S. side has also announced several rounds of sanctions against Venezuelan government officials ever since.

For its part, Venezuela has slammed the “warmongering” declarations of Trump as “threats to peace” and a “violation” of UN and international laws.

Maduro has also instructed the military to prepare to “shoulder arms” in case of a U.S. invasion.

Piñera’s visit to Washington will come after his participation in the United Nations General Assembly, which will take place next week in New York.

Piñera, who assumed the presidency of Chile last March, had previously held the position between 2010 and 2014.

Chile doesn’t recognize Maduro’s victory in Venezuela, says Piñera

The meeting between the two will take place before Trump’s first trip to Latin America, scheduled to attend the G20 summit that will take place in Argentina, and after which the president will also visit Colombia.

The U.S. president canceled at the last moment his participation in April of this year at the Summit of the Americas, which took place in Peru.

Since arriving at the White House, Trump has received in Washington several Latin American presidents, among them that of Argentina, Mauricio Macri; Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, Guatemala, Jimmy Morales and now ex-president of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.