US rules out Trump meetings with Castro, Maduro

US President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on March 13, 2018.
US President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC on March 13, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House on Thursday (April 5) ruled out the already faint possibility that President Donald Trump will meet the leaders of Cuba or Venezuela on his first trip to Latin America next week.

"We don't anticipate at this point a direct meeting between president Trump and (Raul) Castro," a senior administration official said.

"He won't be having bilateral meetings with Venezuela."

Trump has been at pains to contrast his presidency with that of predecessor Barack Obama, who held a historic meeting with Raul Castro at the last Summit of the Americas in Panama in 2015.

That paved the way for a thaw in relations after decades of Cold War rivalry.

During this year's event, taking place on April 13 and 14 in Lima, Peru, Trump looks set to be less conciliatory.

A week before he departs for his first meeting summit with southern neighbours, he ordered the National Guard to the Mexican border, as he sought to burnish his tough-on-migrants credentials.