LIMA, Peru — When presidents gather this week in Peru at the Summit of the Americas, they may be tempted to walk past Vice President Mike Pence and make a beeline for another person who has President Trump’s ear on Latin America: Sen. Marco Rubio.

In Trump’s absence from the meeting, the Florida Republican is playing an even more prominent role. He began the week presiding over a Senate hearing on the summit, lunched Thursday with Pence at the White House to discuss the trip and starting Friday, when he arrives in Lima, will meet one-on-one with about a half-dozen heads of state – around the same number as Pence himself.

Trump canceled what would have been his first presidential visit to Latin America.