The Associated Press, 1/8/2014
The United Nation’s human rights agency called Wednesday for an “immediate, impartial and effective investigation” into the violence that has swept through a penitentiary in northeastern Brazil where at least 60 inmates were killed in 2013 in clashes between rival gangs.
Violence from the prisons has spilled onto the streets of Sao Luis, the capital of Maranhao state where the prison is located. Police say imprisoned gang leaders angered by authorities attempted crackdowns inside the prison ordered their members to spark terror by setting buses ablaze and shooting up the outside of police stations.
A 6-year-old girl died this week after being severely burned during one bus attack. Gas stations in the city largely complied with a police request to halt the sale of fuel to anyone wanting to fill-up a gas canister, hoping to squeeze off gangs’ ability to buy flammable liquids used to torch buses.
Peter James Spielmann – The Associated Press, 11/07/2013
Brazil and Germany are presenting a resolution to the U.N. General Assembly urging all countries to extend internationally guaranteed privacy rights to the Internet and other electronic communications.
The proposed resolution follows a series of reports of U.S. eavesdropping on foreign leaders, including Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, that have angered U.S. allies.
The ambassadors of Germany and Brazil are publicly introducing their jointly sponsored resolution Thursday afternoon to the General Assembly committee that deals with human rights.
Oiliver Stuenkel – Americas Quarterly, 10/29/2013
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly in September 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama appealed to rising democracies around the world to help spread the democratic message, declaring that “we need your voices to speak out,” and reminding them that “part of the price of our own freedom is standing up for the freedom of others.”1
Many observers regarded this as wishful thinking. Democracy promotion, they argue, is a typically Western endeavor. While governments and NGOs in Europe and North America spend billions of dollars every year on democracy-related projects, emerging powers have traditionally avoided such projects—underlining the view held by some skeptics that there is no place for democracy promotion in a “post-Western world.”
Yet even the skeptics might find reason to pause when it comes to Brazil. Latin America’s largest nation has quietly turned into democracy’s “defender-in-chief,” in sharp contrast to emerging democracies in other regions, such as Turkey, South Africa or India—none of which regard democracy promotion beyond their borders as a priority.
Vanessa Barbara – The New York Times, 09/26/2013
AT the opening of the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Dilma Rousseff, the president of my country, Brazil, delivered a scolding speech in response to reports that the National Security Agency has monitored electronic communications of Brazilian citizens, members of government and private corporations. Like a displeased school principal, Ms. Rousseff seemed to speak directly to President Obama, who was waiting in the wings to deliver his own speech.
She called the surveillance program “a breach of international law” and “a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities; and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.” She seemed personally offended when she demanded “explanations, apologies and guarantees that such procedures will never be repeated.” Last week, she called off a planned visit to the United States, after she learned that the N.S.A. had gained access to her own e-mails, telephone calls and text messages.
All in all, it was a nice example of what Brazilians call “Dilma Bolada,” or “Furious Dilma.” (A Rio de Janeiro publicist has even created a fake Twitter profile under that name, to make fun of our president’s famous short temper.)
Aamer Madhani – USA Today, 09/24/2013
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff used her address before the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday to sharply criticize the United States over allegations that the National Security Agency has spied on her government.
Rousseff, who spoke before President Obama had arrived in the hall for today’s meeting of world leaders, said the United States violated human rights and international law through its surveillance programs, which she said illegally captured Brazilians’ communications, including her own e-mails.
“We face … a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty of my country,” Rousseff said.
Daniel Trotta – Reuters, 09/24/2013
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Tuesday criticized the United States for spying, using the opening speech at the U.N. General Assembly to announce Brazil would adopt legislation and technology to protect it from illegal interception of communications.
Rousseff last week called off a high-profile state visit to the United States scheduled for October over reports that the U.S. National Security Agency had been spying on Brazil and Rousseff’s email.
After opening with diplomatic pleasantries and a condemnation of the shopping mall attack in Kenya, Rousseff launched into a blistering attack on U.S. spying, calling espionage among friendly nations “totally unacceptable.”
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?