U.S. tries to repair relationship with Brazil

December 16, 2013

Mimi Whitefield – The Miami Herald, 12/13/2013

Despite pique in some exile circles when President Barack Obama shook hands earlier this week with Cuban President Raúl Castro, a top U.S. diplomat for the Americas said Friday that she was watching his greeting of another president more closely.

The handshake drama took place on Tuesday at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg. On his way to the rostrum, Obama had to navigate past not only Castro but also Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. She has been on prickly terms with Washington since revelations earlier this year that the National Security Agency had monitored her emails and conversations.

“The whole world was clearly looking at the greeting for Raúl Castro, but I was much more interested in who was standing next to Raúl Castro and what the greeting was going to be like with Dilma Rousseff,’’ said Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson during a meeting Friday with reporters and editors from the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald.

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Brazilian president Rousseff launches tirade against US over NSA surveillance

September 24, 2013

Julian Borger – The Guardian, 09/24/2013

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, has launched a blistering attack on US espionage at the UN general assembly, accusing the NSA of violating international law by its indiscriminate collection of personal information of Brazilian citizens and economic espionage targeted on the country’s strategic industries.

Rousseff’s angry speech was a direct challenge to President Barack Obama, who was waiting in the wings to deliver his own address to the UN general assembly, and represented the most serious diplomatic fallout to date from the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Rousseff had already put off a planned visit to Washington in protest at US spying, after NSA documents leaked by Snowden revealed that the US electronic eavesdropping agency had monitored the Brazilian president’s phone calls, as well as Brazilian embassies and spied on the state oil corporation, Petrobras.

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While only a postponement, Dilma can come out winning twice

September 18, 2013

Paulo Sotero – O Estado de S. Paulo, 09/18/2013

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If the decision taken by the office of the president this Tuesday, September 17th, results in a postponement, not a cancelation of Dilma Rousseff’s state visit to Washington, the bilateral relationship can benefit from the incident provoked by the NSA espionage on Brazil.  For now, we are left with Barack Obama’s embarrassment and Dilma’s frustration, who worked in recent years to reestablish dialogue with Washington – deteriorated at the end of Lula’s government—and who believes that a more productive relationship with the U.S. helps Brazil.

The postponement of the visit will benefit the Brazilian leader twice. Now, by demonstrating that she does not allow incidents like these to go unnoticed, and later, during the visit, by showing that it will only take place once present difficulties are overcome. To meet this end, Obama and Dilma will have to promote an honest and effective dialogue to create a climate of mutual trust which has currently dissipated but without which stronger relations will not be possible.

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Did Brazil’s president just knock down US influence a notch or two?

September 18, 2013

James Norton – Christian Science Monitor, 09/18/2013

The decision of Brazil‘s President Dilma Rousseff to forgo a planned October state visit to the United States is being portrayed by the White House as a mutually decided-upon postponement. Worldwide, however, that view gets little play: The cancellation is seen by many as a dismissal of the US in response to revelations about its wide-reaching National Security Agency surveillance programs.

The Associated Press framed the decision as the latest in a series of bad jolts for President Obama:

“The real issue becomes, How does this affect American influence in the world?” said Carl Meacham, director of the Americas program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Is American influence knocked down a few notches as a result of this?” He called Rousseff’s action “almost unheard of.”

The most recent NSA program in question is the hacking of Brazil’s oil company, Petrobras, which came to light as part of the leak of classified documents by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden. President Rousseff said on Monday that such spying amounts to industrial espionage, and was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Clearly, Petrobras is not a threat to the security of any country.”

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Brazil to U.S.: help us move past NSA controversy

September 11, 2013

Brian Winter – Reuters, 09/10/2013

President Dilma Rousseff is eager to end a diplomatic crisis with Washington over revelations the National Security Agency spied on her and other Brazilians, but first she wants protection against additional leaks that could embarrass her government, a senior Brazilian official told Reuters.

A steady stream of news reports since July, based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, have detailed how the United States spied on a wide range of commercial and governmental targets in Brazil.

While many countries have been named as targets in the Snowden documents, the revelations have been especially sensitive here because Rousseff, a moderate leftist, is due on October 23 to make the first formal state visit to the White House by a Brazilian leader in nearly two decades.

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Brazil said to cancel trip to U.S. to prepare meeting with Obama

September 5, 2013

Arnaldo Galvao – Bloomberg, 09/04/2013

Brazilian authorities have canceled a trip to Washington that was designed to prepare for President Dilma Rousseff’s state visit next month in response to charges the U.S. spied on the South American nation.

Brazilian officials originally scheduled the trip for Sept. 7 to 11 to organize the details of Rousseff’s state visit, according to a government official who is close to the president and asked not to be named because the information isn’t official. He didn’t know whether Rousseff would cancel her trip in October.

Brazil’s government want the U.S. to respond this week to a report the National Security Agency used software to probe Rousseff’s communications with several aides, Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo told reporters in Brasilia Sept. 2. The spying, if true, would be “inadmissible and unacceptable,” he said.

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Brazil’s Rousseff wants U.S. apology for NSA spying

September 5, 2013

Brian Winter – Reuters, 09/04/2013

Furious about a report that the U.S. government spied on her private communications, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff may cancel a planned White House visit and downgrade commercial ties unless she receives a public apology, a senior Brazilian official told Reuters on Wednesday.

A Brazilian news program reported on Sunday that the U.S. National Security Agency spied on emails, phone calls and text messages of Rousseff and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. The report by Globo TV was based on documents leaked by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Rousseff is due to make a formal state visit to Washington next month to meet U.S. President Barack Obama and discuss a possible $4 billion jet-fighter deal, cooperation on oil and biofuels technology, as well as other commercial agreements.

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