Small expectations between two big countries during Brazil’s official trip

Michael D. Mosettig – PBS, 6/26/2015

As official visits go, it has been an inauspicious scene-setting for next week’s trip of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff to the United States and a Tuesday meeting with President Barack Obama.

First off, the trip is a re-do. Rousseff was supposed to be in Washington two years ago for a full-fledged, bells and whistles state visit. She abruptly cancelled after revelations that the National Security Agency had been tapping her phone. (The scandal was even more painful for the Boeing Company, which had been on the verge of winning a $4 billion contract to re-equip the Brazilian air force. The contract went to a Swedish company.)

In her country of 202 million people, Rousseff’s problems keep mounting. The national joke in Brazil is that her poll ratings (barely 10 percent) are one point ahead of the country’s inflation rate (8.4 percent). Brazil’s signature, state-dominated company, Petrobras, is engulfed in allegations that billions disappeared in kick backs to Rousseff’s Workers Party. Just last week, two of the country’s major industrialists were arrested. Neither Rousseff nor her highly popular predecessor and mentor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have been implicated so far, but the country is on edge against the possibility of the scandal spreading.

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U.S. and Russia vying to supply Brazil with commercial satellites in space partnership

Fox News Latino, 6/17/2015

The United States is vying with Russia to play a strategic role in helping Brazil launch commercial satellites from the Latin American nation’s base near the equator, setting up another potential area of dispute between Washington and Moscow.

With Brazil ending in February its decade-long partnership with the Ukraine to develop a launch vehicle at the Alcantara base, on its northern Atlantic coast, sources close to the government in Brasilia told Reuters that President Dilma Rousseff is expected to choose a partner in the coming months.

Rousseff is expected to factor in a number of issues in making her decision, including the quality of technology offered and Brazil’s diplomatic relations — a matter of importance as Rousseff visits the White House on June 30.

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Brazil looks to buy Chinook helicopters from Boeing as tensions with U.S. thaw

Andrew O’Reilly – Fox News Latino, 10/17/2014

In a sign that the icy relations between Brazil and the United States in the wake of the National Security Agency spying scandal are beginning to thaw, the South American nation has expressed an interest in buying a handful of military helicopters from Boeing, the Chicago-based company said.

The Brazilian Army is looking to purchase several CH-47 Chinook helicopters from Boeing in a deal that would add to an already growing list of potential weapons deals between the U.S. and Brazil. Boeing executives said that they were “pretty positive” about the deal and that the company views Brazil as an important partner for both commercial and defense projects.

“We have had some early discussions about the Chinook with the Brazilian Army,” Boeing spokesman Scott Day told Reuters, adding that the proposed deal was not a very big one. “We still view Brazil as a very important country for Boeing.”

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Brazil says no to $4B fighter jet deal with France’s Dassault; not a victory yet for Boeing, Saab

Patricia Rey Mallén – International Business Times, 12/16/2013

France’s President François Hollande visited Brazil last week, and he was in for an unpleasant surprise. Brazil announced on Saturday that France isn’t getting the big contract that Hollande was pushing — a multibillion-dollar deal for new fighter jets.

Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo reported that the French are now out of a three-way race they once seemed poised to win. The decision comes as a surprise, since France’s Rafale fighter jets were former President Luiz Inácio de Lula’s favorite option to replace Brazil’s current fighter jet, the Mirage, also a French product. Nevertheless, since the offer was made in 2009, both governments have changed leaders and Brazil’s finances have hit the skids.

France’s $4 billion proposal for 36 Rafale fighter jets, made by a consortium led by Dassault Aviation SA (EPA:AM), was rejected for cost reasons. The government has not specified if it has decided on any of the other contestants, the F/A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing Company (NYSE:BA) and the Gripen made by Sweden’s Saab (STO:SAAB-B).

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Brazil-US: what’s at stake?

Simeon Tegel – Global Post, 09/19/2013

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s postponement of a state visit to the White House in protest at the United States spying on millions of Brazilians, including her own emails and phone calls, has implications beyond bilateral diplomacy.

What’s really at stake for Brazil and the US as tensions simmer between the Western Hemisphere’s two largest economies?

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Brazil and the US: more in sorrow than anger

The Economist, 09/18/2013

FIRST came a report on September 1st that the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) had been monitoring the phone calls and e-mails of Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, and other senior officials. Then came evidence that the NSA appeared to be spying on Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company. An angry Ms Rousseff demanded explanations, an apology and a guarantee that these “illegal practices” would cease, as a condition for going ahead with a long-planned state visit to Washington next month. Although the administration spoke of “legitimate concerns” raised by Brazil, more explicit contrition was apparently not forthcoming in a 20-minute phone call on September 16th. The two leaders announced the “postponement” of the visit.

But with no date rescheduled, that looked more like cancellation. Thus the first international result of a stream of revelations from Edward Snowden, a fugitive NSA contractor, about the agency’s industrial-scale snooping (relayed in this case via a Brazilian television programme), has been a further deterioration in the often-awkward relations between the two largest countries in the Americas.

Few in Brazil were surprised by Ms Rousseff’s decision. In the circumstances “being seen in an evening gown with President Obama” risked seeming “submissive and weak”, according to Oliver Stuenkel, an international-relations specialist at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, a university. Two things magnified the risk: the possibility of further revelations concerning Brazil from Mr Snowden’s trove of documents, and a presidential election in a year’s time at which Ms Rousseff, who is less popular than she was, will seek a second term. Furthermore, Brazil had no big issues to negotiate during the visit and some in Latin America will applaud Ms Rousseff for standing up to the United States.

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Spying scandal sets back U.S. chances for fighter jet sale to Brazil

Reuters, 08/12/2013

U.S. hopes of landing a coveted deal worth more than $4 billion to sell 36 fighter jets to Brazil have suffered a setback with recent revelations that the United States collected data on Brazilian Internet communications.

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sits down with Brazilian officials in Brasilia on Tuesday to prepare a state visit to the White House by President Dilma Rousseff, the sale of the warplanes will not be on the agenda, a Brazilian source said.

“We cannot talk about the fighters now … . You cannot give such a contract to a country that you do not trust,” a high-level Brazilian government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

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