US vice president arrives in Colombia at start of Latin American tour
At a joint press conference with President Santos, Pence also took the occasion to condemn the violent incident on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia,…
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The vice president of the United States arrived Sunday in Cartagena, Colombia, to kick off a two-day visit to Colombia and his first tour of Latin America.
"On behalf of POTUS (the president of the United States), we're wheels up en route to Colombia for my meeting later today with Colombia's president, (Juan Manuel Santos)," Pence tweeted at midday.
After Pence's plane touched down, Holguin tweeted that Pence's visit comes in the context of "the strategic relationship between both countries and ... US support for the construction of peace" in the Andean nation, whose government signed a peace agreement with leftist FARC guerrillas last year.
The vice president is accompanied by his wife, Karen, who will meet with art therapists during the five-day trip that also will take the couple to Argentina, Chile and Panama.
Pence is to meet Santos at the Presidential House for Illustrious Guests, where the two are to issue a joint statement.
On Sunday night, Pence and Santos dined along with members of the recently created U.S.-Colombia Business Council, an organization launched in March by the US Chamber of Commerce to build on already close economic bilateral ties and forge an even more robust commercial partnership.
Talking from Cartagena, Pence also took the occasion to condemn the violent incident on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, describing it as a tragedy, in which three people were killed and more than 20 wounded during a march by white supremacists.
"What happened in Charlottesville is a tragedy," Mike Pence said at a joint press conference in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, as he began a tour of four Latin American nations.
Describing the city in Virginia as "a beautiful community, a university town with a rich heritage," Pence said that "what occurred there, as local and state officials have said, is in no way a reflection of the good and decent people of Charlottesville or of America."
"President (Donald) Trump clearly and unambiguously condemned the bigotry, violence and hatred which took place on the streets of Charlottesville," he emphasized.
"We have no tolerance for hate and violence from white supremacists, neo-Nazis or the KKK," he added.
One of the deaths occurred when a car deliberately ran into a group of protestors against the white supremacists' demonstration, while the other two were killed when a police helicopter crashed.
"These dangerous fringe groups have no place in American public life and in the American debate, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms," Pence said.
He also added that Trump would continue calling for a "focus on what unites us, our commitment to freedom, our commitment to justice for all."
Pence also used this occasion to express his displeasure with the media that, he said, "spent more time criticizing the president's words than they did criticizing those that perpetrated the violence."