President Obama is escaping DC's soggy spring weather this week with a three-day trip to the Caribbean and Central America, starting with Jamaica on Thursday. But there's much more going than just a sunny tropical vacation.

After his meetings in Jamaica, Obama will attend the Summit of the Americas in Panama City, where he's expected to have "an interaction" with Cuban leader Raoul Castro, the first since the US and Cuba began to normalize relations last December. He can also anticipate a tense encounter with Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro, who has announced plans to present Obama with a petition signed by 10 million of his citizens protesting sanctions the US recently imposed on Venezuelan officials.

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The fall in oil prices also battered Venezuela's oil-dependent economy, raising questions about whether it would be able to continue its support at all.

"Given the economic disaster in Venezuela today any rational person dependent on Venezuelan financial support would have to be looking at other options," Cynthia Arnson, the director of the Latin American program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, told the Miami Herald last December.

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