Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez called it "an affront to all the peoples of our America and a historic regression". When Pence realized that Cuba's representative was speaking, he conferred with an official with the Organization of American States and then walked out of the session.
The tensions spilled over into Latin America this week, with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross disparaging Chinese trade in a speech in Lima and promising that Washington will not cede leadership in the region to "authoritarian states".
Seeking rapprochement with Mexico, which has been over the border wall and immigration in danger with Trump, Pence stated the topic of financing for Trump border wall did not develop into his meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto. While the press focuses on whether Pence will meet with Cuba's Raúl Castro-who has oddly been invited despite the exclusion of Venezuela's Nicolas Maduro for being a dictator-attention should be on the need of a wide-ranging vision for hemispheric relations.
Pence said they simply had a difference of opinion and some issues were "set aside, for a later date".
He says they discussed the fact that both countries have strong presidents with strong personalities who are bound to have strong differences at times. He tried to get Mexico to pay for a border wall (which Mexico has said will not happen) and is pushing for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico (which is not going well).
Vice President Mike Pence has congratulated Chile's Sebastian Pinera on his return to the presidency.
Showing solidarity with opposition leaders, US Vice President Mike Pence urged Latin American allies on Friday to further isolate Venezuela, suggesting the Trump administration would seek additional sanctions to counter the country's political crisis.
Hours after Trump hailed the missile strike targeting the Syria's suspected chemical weapons - tweeting, "Mission Accomplished!"
Seated along side Trudeau, Pence mentioned there was still a "real possibility" that the US may reach a deal with Canada and Mexico on NAFTA "within the next several weeks".
Relations between the countries have also been strained amid mysterious sonic attacks that US diplomats in Havana say have left them with ailments including headaches, hearing problems and concussions. Just one week ago, former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva became the first leader in his nation's modern history to be incarcerated as he serves out a 12-year corruption conviction.
Ana Quintana, a senior policy analyst on Latin America and the Western Hemisphere for the Heritage Foundation, said Pence would seek to "continue the momentum" of USA policy on Venezuela.
While President Donald Trump has vowed to scrap NAFTA and pull out of trade agreements as part of his America First policy, most of the region has been moving in the opposite direction.
"Everyone who attacks Venezuela ends up losing; the Summit of the Americas has been a complete failure", said Maduro, whose invitation to the April 13 and 14 conference was rescinded by Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.
Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra, a former vice president who took office last month, said public frustration with elected authorities and private companies had reached a fever pitch.
Pence was attending the Summit of the Americas on Friday before being whisked away from the gathering and to his hotel shortly before Trump's address to the nation. The U.S. led a missile strike in Syria earlier Saturday.
Addressing Western Hemisphere leaders Friday in an auditorium where a number of seats were left notably empty, Peru's new president said that rather than accept corruption as a deep-seated scourge impossible to eliminate, governments should adopt concrete measures that prevent it from ever taking place.
He learned only Tuesday he would be attending in Trump's place therefore that the president would afford the USA response to Syria.