Obama to Cut Latin America Trip a Few Hours Short

Posted March 22, 2011 at 6:31pm

President Barack Obama will return to the White House from El Salvador a few hours earlier than expected Wednesday, as the president juggles an official trip to Latin America with monitoring U.S. participation in enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya.

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told pool reporters in El Salvador on Tuesday that Obama canceled his plans to visit some Mayan ruins Wednesday in order to participate in a morning call with his national security team.

“It’s logistical,” Vietor said. “He’s doing a call in the a.m. with his national security team and thus will not have time to visit the ruins. So he’ll be wheels up a couple hours earlier.”

The Obama family began its five-day tour of Latin America by flying to Brazil on Friday. The United Nations Security Council voted the day before to impose the no-fly zone in response to the Libyan government’s violent crackdown on political dissidents, and an international coalition began enforcing the zone Saturday.

Bipartisan lawmakers have criticized the president for authorizing military action in Libya without Congressional approval, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) wrote to Members on Tuesday that he will seek to deny funding for sending U.S. troops there.

The Obamas visited Chile in addition to Brazil and El Salvador during the Latin America trip, which was focused on strengthening economic partnerships abroad.