With Trump ‘Locked and Loaded,’ Pence off to Latin America

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While much of Washington (and, one would think, the wider world) ponders what to wear for Armageddon Day, at least one man’s thoughts are elsewhere.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, previously dispatched on damage-control missions to Europe to reassure jittery allies, is set to take off to Latin America on Sunday — specifically, to Colombia, Argentina, Chile, and Panama.

While Latin America doesn’t get much attention from Trump’s Twitter fingers, other than the wall, the region is going through a critical moment — and not just because Venezuela is imploding in slow motion. Pence’s visit offers the White House a chance to show that it is keeping hemispheric issues squarely in sight even as it deals with a host of security challenges from Asia to the Middle East.

It won’t be an easy crowd: Latin American countries, including some on Pence’s trip, are among the places that have most soured on the United States since Trump was elected. And notably, some vice-presidential trips to the region — like Richard Nixon’s — have gone south disastrously.

Pence’s trip is meant to give “a sign of the high importance [Trump] places on this region,” according to a White House statement. “I will build on the good work that has been done throughout President Trump’s Administration to bolster our shared economic and security goals,” it continues.

Some of that good work: Freeing several Latin American countries that had signed on to the Trans Pacific…

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