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What Should Pence Do at the Summit of the Americas?

Vice President Mike Pence will represent President Trump at the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, on April 13-14. While the press focuses on whether Pence will meet with Cuba’s Raúl Castro—who has oddly been invited despite the exclusion of Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro for being a dictator—attention should be on the need of a wide-ranging vision for hemispheric relations.

The lack of vision has been the reason these summits have become useless—unless you are a U.S.-bashing demagogue. There was a vision until 2005: it was called the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Its most daring promoters wanted to do away with the greatest number of barriers to the circulation of goods, services, ideas, capital—and perhaps, one day, even people.

This idea had been spelled out in various forms since the first summit in 1994. Concrete steps were to be taken once the leaders of the hemisphere gave their seal of approval at Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 2005. But a coterie of leftists, including Brazil’s Lula da Silva, Argentina’s Néstor Kirchner, and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, with the support of soccer legend Diego Armando Maradona, buried the idea, arguing that free-trade agreements were an imperialist U.S. weapon. How ironic that today the U.S. president is disfiguring the North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the argument that Mexico takes unfair advantage of the United States!

Alvaro Vargas Llosa is Senior Fellow at The Center on Global Prosperity at the Independent Institute. He is a native of Peru and received his B.Sc. in international history from the London School of Economics. His Independent Institute books include Global Crossings: Immigration, Civilization, and America, Lessons From the Poor: Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty, and Liberty for Latin America.

From Alvaro Vargas Llosa
GLOBAL CROSSINGS: Immigration, Civilization, and America
The erosion of national boundaries—and even the idea of the nation state—is already underway as people become ever more inter-connected across borders. A jungle of myth, falsehood and misrepresentation dominates the debate over immigration. The reality is that the economic contributions of immigration far outweigh the costs.