Peru Opens Americas Summit Decrying Scourge of Corruption

The scandals have sowed deepening mistrust in politicians throughout the region and eroded public faith in democratic institutions.

Organization of American States secretary general Luis Almagro told delegates the plague of corruption is not symptomatic of a flaw within democratic governance, and that nations should "fight the illness, not the system."

After opening the summit, Vizcarra then greeted heads of state on the steps of the government palace the same spot where Kuczynski bid farewell to his staff after resigning less than one month before.

This year's summit is one of the least attended in recent memory, raising questions about the future of the regional gathering started in 1994 by former President Bill Clinton to assert American trade influence in the region.

U.S. Donald Trump scrapped what would have been his first visit to Latin America as president in order to manage the U.S. response to an apparent chemical weapons attack on civilians in Syria. At least seven other presidents are not participating, some in apparent acts of solidarity with Venezuela, whose invitation was withdrawn, and others to tend to domestic matters at home.

Cuban President Raul Castro, who was widely expected to show up to bid farewell to regional allies as he prepares to step down from the Cuban president in a week's time, chose to send his foreign minister instead.

"It appears that in most of these situations, there are specific and unique reasons for heads of state not to attend," said Matt ....

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