The eighth Summit of the Americas, a conference that draws together the leaders of North, Central and South America, begans in Lima, Peru, on Friday amidst continued political instability throughout the region. Odebrecht has reportedly admitted to bribing politicians throughout the region with payments numbering in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Odebrecht bribery scandal was among the scandals that marred Kuczynski’s tenure. Odebrecht is a Brazilian construction company behind the 2014 world cup in Brazil, the 2016 Olympic Games in the same country, Caracas, Venezuela’s metro system and numerous other projects across the continent, as well as Portugal, Mozambique and Angola.
The great scheme of corruption began in Brazil during Lula da Silva’s rule, and continued in Dilma Rousseff’s government throughout Latin America, influenced by the leadership of Lula da Silva in the Continent.
In December last year, Odebrecht’s 78 executives signed their plea bargain terms in an unprecedented agreement between Brazil, the United States and Switzerland. It was not just the Lava-Jet in Brazil that entered a new phase. That day was a breakthrough in the fight against corruption in many countries in Latin America and Africa.
Kuczynski was accused of lying about payments received from the firm in the mid-2000s.
Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled petroleum firm, has its own multimillion-dollar graft scheme that allegedly involved officials taking bribes to award construction contracts to companies at inflated rates.
US President Donald Trump was expected to attend the summit, but cancelled on Tuesday, citing developments in Syria.
Mexico, along with Central American states El Salvador and Honduras, have enjoyed strained relations with the US since Trump assumed office in January 2017.
The Trump administration initiated a crackdown on undocumented immigrants from Latin America, – especially Mexico and Central America countries – living in the US. Trump has also repeatedly called for a wall along the US-Mexico border.
Last week, the Trump administration announced it would send 500 National Guard troops to the border, and several states have pledged to send more.
Venezuela will hold snap presidential elections in May. Several Latin American governments have said they won’t recognise the election after the main opposition coalition was barred from running in January.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was not invited to the summit but has said he will attend.
The Trump administration is in the middle of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which opened trade between Canada, Mexico and the US.
The Trump administration is currently in talks to change aspects of the agreement to better favour US businesses. Trump told US officials on April 5 he expects a deal to be reached “soon”.
The summit unites the leaders of the Americas as corruption scandals continue and Trump sends US troops to the border.