U.S. Vice President Joe Biden leaves Thursday for a four-day visit to
Chile and Costa Rica, where he will consult with Latin American leaders
ahead of next month's Summit of the Americas.
In Chile, Biden will attend a conference of progressive, or center-left, leaders, hosted by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. The meeting is expected to focus on crafting solutions to the world economic crisis.
Also slated to attend are the prime ministers of Britain Gordon Brown and Norway Jens Stoltenberg and the presidents of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
Vice President Biden then travels to Costa Rica for a meeting with Central American leaders, hosted by Costa Rican President Oscar Arias.
The Summit of the Americas will take place in mid-April in Trinidad and Tobago.
Biden's visit also comes before a gathering next month of G20 industrialized and developing nations in London.
Organizers of the progressive governance meeting in Chile hope some of the ideas formulated at the gathering can be presented at the G20 summit.
They say they will try to find ways to "fill an ideological vacuum" as faith in global markets crumbles.
Biden's wife, Jill, will travel with him to Latin America.