Brazil Spurns U.S. State Visit Invitation Over NSA Spying

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Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, March 14, 2012.

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil has postponed a planned official visit to Washington amid fallout over revelations that the U.S. has been spying on her government, the Associated Press reports. Leaks from former-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed, among other things, extensive spying by the U.S. on countries in Latin America, for which regional heavyweights like Mexico and Brazil already rebuked the U.S. Brazil in particular has reportedly been a primary target of NSA spying—with reports by Brazil’s Globo TV, alleging the agency had spied extensively on the internal communications of the Rousseff administration and on the country’s state-owned oil company Petrobras. The allegations awoke the region’s age-old distrust and resentment of yanqui imperialism.

Rousseff’s visit, originally scheduled for next month, was to be the first such visit of Obama’s second term, an invitation extended to mark “Brazil’s economic, political and diplomatic rise in the world,” Christopher Sabatani, senior director of policy for the Council of the Americas told TIME.

Indefinitely postponing—in effect, canceling—an official state visit is a symbolic and significant move. Brazil’s last official state visit to the United States, with full state dinner and all attendant pomp and circumstance, was nearly two decades ago, in 1995. According to the Brazilian president’s office, Obama called Rousseff late Monday in an attempt to coax her into keeping to the plan, but he reportedly refused her demand that the U.S. issue an official public apology for its spying program, leading Rousseff to call off the trip.

“I’ve never heard of such a thing happening before.” says Sabatani, suggesting Rousseff may be playing to nationalist sentiment at home. “The reaction seems a bit exaggerated, leading one to believe that this may be more about domestic politics than diplomatic state craft.”

In an official statement the White House said delaying the meeting was a mutual decision. “President Obama and President Rousseff both look forward to the State Visit, which will celebrate our broad relationship and should not be overshadowed by a single bilateral issue, no matter how important or challenging the issue may be. For this reason, the presidents have agreed to postpone President Rousseff’s State Visit to Washington scheduled for October 23.“

“It could be interpreted as a slap in the face of the U.S.” Sabatani said, “but more it could raise questions about Brazil’s own diplomatic maturity, in that, while the allegations of NSA spying are serious, and deserve attention, other countries such as Germany and Mexico have discovered that they’ve been the victims of similar spying by the NSA and not reacted with the same umbrage.”

 

35 comments
jordancablelink
jordancablelink

I am not surprised that this is the only time this issue come across the media. we are in 21 century don't you guys think that big government and big power can what ever they want to do. we are the small fish..

By the way i am Brazilian American ...

jordancablelink
jordancablelink

Say no more, if you don't want to be spied get your ass out of the network...

karmacritic
karmacritic

"Quick! This is a huge slap in the face of Obama's police state! We need to spin it somehow into making it about Brazil's own domestic troubles, or diplomatic immaturity, or... or something!!"

"Why not both? But wait... can we... can we just come out and *say* that? Just like that, say it?"

"Of course not, you silly intern. Find this blowhard from the Council of the Americas and he'll say it for us."

"Ooooh, wow. That is so smart. I'm starting to understand this journalism thingy!"

GVA_Laker
GVA_Laker

Looks like the $4 billion defense contract Boeing is seeking for the sale of F-18 fighter jets to Brazil's Air Force is off. 

ChristianNordqvist
ChristianNordqvist

America needs to understand that the rules it tells the world to abide by, work both ways. Do as I say and not as I do, is no longer America's luxury. The tables have turned.

WilliamHewitt
WilliamHewitt

Hey BO (Biden & Obama) smells like bad odor, President Dilma Rousseff just dumped you like dirty laundry! Hey BO smells like bad odor, Brazil has dumped you like dirty laundry! Bye! Bye! $BILLION airplane deal! Bama use new deodorant. 

WilliamHewitt
WilliamHewitt

Dear Sir,
  Now that Marion Judge Mark Spitzer has instructed the public school children on the American Constitution he should visit the White House and instruct President Barack Hussein Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden that they have attacked America by scrapping the 4th Amendment to the American Constitution and attempted to turn America into a police state. This has violated their oath of office and it is every American's duty to see that these criminals are impeached, indicted, prosecuted, convicted, and incarcerated in the concentration camp located in Guantanamo, Cuba and waterboarded until they confess their crimes. American hero Edward Snowden should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Nobel Peace Prize for being a modern day Paul Revere and warning America of the NSA Gestapo installed by the Democratic Party.
US Constitution of America

AMENDMENT IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

FabianoGarcia
FabianoGarcia

Well, the USA has the right to spy (also on Brazlian enterprizes !!!???) and the Brazilian government has the right to call off dinner with champaign ???!!!. Such old ways in such modern times. Ridiculous. 


Karl
Karl

No country wants to be the bath mat for an another country, even one that calls itself the exceptional or indispensable country. Titles of entitlement  that should make any sane ally run for the hills. Sure Washington has everybody's best interests at heart. Right. This is also the beginning of the end of the US-centric international internet, which China already has opted out of, according to other reports from Brasilia today.  We in the US benefit financially from the US-centric-ness (that is bad English!) of many international, formerly 'Free World', institutions. Edward Snowden, in exposing the peeping tom behind the international telephone racket, internet web (a sticky web it turns out)  etc.. has done more than any foreign power to shift the sands under this country's standing in the world. The president of Brazil is a woman. so I'll be old-fashioned and add why the h-ll would you expect anything but rage from her when she learns her private conversations were somehow Washington's business. Oh she's not a US citizen? Almost 7 billion humans on Earth are not US citizens, our Constitution suddenly becomes something that can be used to spy on, assassinate and do what we will with them. It was not ever the purpose in writing the Constitution to somehow imply the federal government can do what it pleases with the subjects of other nations. The notion that we would ever be that powerful and unchecked by other powers wouldn't have made any sense in 13 just barely uniting states more concerned with states rights than thinking centuries into the future at a US centered world hegemony.

Rastaman
Rastaman

She has all the right to cancel the visit to a country that is spying not only on Brazil, but Russia, Germany, France, England, Mexico, China, South America, Africa, and many others.  Who is USA to spy that way?  Thje US international policy is terrible, that's why so many countries hate United States. 

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

Goes with the territory, folks.  It's not "nice", but nice went out of business a long while back.  She is just playing to the domestic audience, given her own nagging economic "issues" with the poor.  Come on Dilma, you gotta have a sense of humor.  They didn't single you out.  Everybody gets the same intrusive cavity search by the NSA, especially American private citizens.

thomasandyolanda
thomasandyolanda

As a broad matter; we won't stop spying... so grow some or shut up

meddevguy
meddevguy

You may want to look up President Rousseff's hyper radical past and her far left political party before you believe the "spying' garbage had anything to do with her cancellation. She is a solid fan of Cuba and very, very upset with the US for the "embargo".

Not sure what a great country like Brazil is doing with a radical leader, but a country gets the officials they elect -- and always deserve them.

DeanCris
DeanCris

It's as if the US govt with Israel by its side and perhaps the UK wants to pull this juggarnaught on the World and basically run them as second class helpers. And we expect everyone to be ok with that?! How naive.

DeanCris
DeanCris

An overreaction??!! Is the white house serious??!! I am just waiting for the revelation that the CIA or Mossaud has planted evidence on an American or perhaps caused his identity to be stolen, etc to make life difficult. This is all becoming like the movie "V" and it needs to be stopped - terrorism be damned. If we don't feel safe from our own government and have "thought-crime" what's it all for? The US will already have been ruined if the govt is footing it's political critics.

RonPeck-Aragon
RonPeck-Aragon

I believe it is an acceptable reaction...I would be livid...I am an American living in Mexico and I am emabrassed by the actions of the NSA and to think they may have spied on ME is even more frustrating. I feel violated and would imagine anyone else would feel the same.

JohnNicoletti
JohnNicoletti

America stinks...Obama stinks...the Clintons stink....like crap and turds that they are.

somecarnut
somecarnut

You have to have a global vision these days.

The US government wants to be the "Big Brother" of the WHOLE WORLD, gathering information on everybody and everything.

Coincidentally....talk about the newest mental health issue in the DC Navy yard.....what is paranoia ?

The terrorist have won long time ago..., With the kind of effort trying to prevent a very few (from committing terrorist acts)  to alter the lives and way of life of so many...........in the US and consequently, because of paranoid behavior and policies, the rest of the world.

I understand and respect the Brazilian's decision, even encourage it.

alan.gerow
alan.gerow

I think it says less about Brazil's diplomatic maturity, and says more about Germany & Mexico's lack of spines and self-respect of national sovereignty. 

DanBruce
DanBruce

Nothing new here. One can almost judge how badly a South American government is governing by the amount of anti-American rhetoric the president of that country uses. South of the border, a few good anti-American harangues is always a good way to divert  attention. You'd think the South American voters would have caught on by now.

RookieVee
RookieVee

As a Brazilian living here in the US, and despite not being a great fan of my current president, I fully agree with her reaction to the revelations of the NSA spying on my country and her cancelling this meeting. I don't care what the reactions are from Mexicans, Germans or whoever, we have warm/hot blood running in our veins and what the US did (and is probably still doing it) is unforgivable. This article is probably part of a campaign by the US to make her reaction looks bad to the outside world but she must stay true to her feelings.

MichaelRichards
MichaelRichards

They should all be acting with "umbrage". It's one thing to spy investigating terrorism. It's another to spy on a friend.

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

@meddevguy If you were as lovely as she, Mr. Bear, you might be grumpy and socialistic too.  She's probably very smart, but smart doesn't guarantee much common sense anymore, if it ever did.  This is just a little piece of histrionics. If she gets over it, good.  If not, "Oh well".

Rastaman
Rastaman

@RonPeck-Aragon You are 100% right, I also feel embarassed for the hipocritical way Obama is showing around the world that the USA is still the POLICE OF THE WORLD.  And then there are presidents like BUsh that ask the public..."why they hate us so much???"

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

@RonPeck-Aragon Ron, we have to move on.  Nobody except the Brazilians she was attempting to stir up has a dog in this fight.  They have spied on you, maybe.  They have spied on me, maybe.  They've spied on everybody.  It's what an out-of-control government does in the 21st century in an "asymmetrical threat scenario".  Maybe the Mexican government should be spying some of those people who are making their streets unbearable for human society.  Spying has its uses.  Think how nice it would be if the bad guys were treated with the deadly contempt they so richly deserve just because they used their cellphones or their chat room encoded instructions.

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

@somecarnut When do you suppose the nice lady is going to exhale.  Holding your breath makes you cyanotic.  It's a gesture.  See it for its theatrical purpose.  It really won't change much.

StephenSwain
StephenSwain

@DanBruce You nailed it.  That's the gold standard for distracting the electorate:  blame it all on the nasty gringoes that buy your orange juice.  The truth of the matter is that not much actually gets accomplished at these little "events".  The work of liaising goes on behind the scenes.  That is unlikely to change, unless Dilma would like to personally sponsor putting the trees back in the Amazon basin that have damage the global ecosystem.  Then she could posture with full chops.  This is just a small tantrum.  It will blow over.

WinslowWilson
WinslowWilson

@DanBruce Well, like it or not, you are being spied on by your own government.  You also lost your entire Bill of rights since McCain's articles 1021 &1022 of the NDAA Nat Defense Authorization Act now allows YOU the US citizen to be arrested without warrant, transported to a secret prison and held there forever if need be and never brought to trial.  

Google it if you don't believe me. Brazil served us by declining the invitation and for good reasons.


jordancablelink
jordancablelink

Rookie, i think if she really have problem been spied, why she don't coming and face to face the guy who spaying her?

TomWard
TomWard

You're right our government probably still is doing it, and it isn't right. But it's not like we singled Brazil out though, we get caught spying on everyone

rar113
rar113

@MichaelRichards People like the NSA don't have many friends.  They trust no one and will stop at nothing to get their way.  Secret courts, secret trials, secret demands for cooperation.  Maybe, possibly it's aimed at terrorists today.  Tomorrow it'll be a full-fledged KGB.

DanBruce
DanBruce

@WinslowWilson @DanBruce I'm also being spied on by Google, Amazon, and Apple, and they probably know a lot more about me than the NSA. Fortunately, I have nothing to hide. Having served in the military, I realize that, as Americans, we are all in this together, so I don't have your distrust of our government. I still believe in our system of checks and balances.