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Dilma Postpones Her U.S. State Visit; Saves Face for Both Sides (Folha, Brazil)


"The fact that it didn't entail losses of major consequence to Brazil no doubt helped the decision along. ... There is also another aspect that shouldn't be overlooked: the risk that during the visit, new revelations based on documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden, former American intelligence analyst, would be made public. ... In the present case, it would be an even greater embarrassment for Brazil if the meeting was held - pardon the quip - just to give the Americans an even closer look."




Translated By Vieira Maldonado and Rachael Bradley


September 18, 2013


Brazil - Folha - Original Article (Portuguese)

President Obama greets Brazil President Dilma Rousseff at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6. Rousseff has postponed her planned state visit to the United States pending more thorough explanations and sincere apologies for the way Washington has spied on her and her nation.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: Espionage dispute between Brazil and United States 'escalates,' Sept. 18, 00:01:44RealVideo

President Dilma Rousseff's decision to postpone her state visit to the United States, scheduled for October 23, is understandable and reasonable, even if profoundly innocuous.


The postponement, motivated by revelations that the communications and data of Brazilian citizens and businesses - including those of the president herself - were illegally monitored by the U.S. National Security Agency, does not constitute a breakdown in relations with the world's leading economy.


Neither will this make the Americans change their behavior, which, as the Brazilian government said of their spying, "is an illegal and unacceptable violation of Brazilian sovereignty. ... incompatible with the trust needed for a strategic partnership between friendly nations." One should not imagine, it must be said, that any nation will abandon the monitoring of opponents or competitors.


If she were inclined to exacerbate the episode, Dilma would have permanently canceled her trip to the U.S. capital - during which she would be the first head of state received with such honors during President Barack Obama's second term.


This is, rather, a timely diplomatic response to the lack of a satisfactory explanation on the part of the U.S. government.


Witness the friendly tone of the official statements from both governments which emphasize the continuity of bilateral relations in areas like trade, energy, and defense, and how they reiterate that the postponement was mutually agreed upon by the two presidents.


The fact that it didn't entail losses of major consequence to Brazil no doubt helped the decision along.


The visit to Washington would have undeniable symbolic importance, but would do nothing to address issues of concrete relevance to the national agenda, such as supporting Brazil's claim for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, announcements of investments and trade agreements, or even an end to visas for Brazilian tourists.


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If there was more at stake, pragmatism would undoubtedly have prevailed, and the meeting would have gone forward.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


In this context, postponing the trip raises the possibility that a future meeting will go beyond mere formality and be planned around negotiations that are more substantial and beneficial to the country.


There is also another aspect that shouldn't be overlooked: the risk that during the visit, new revelations based on documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden, former American intelligence analyst, would be made public.


In the present case, it would be an even greater embarrassment for Brazil if the meeting was held - pardon the quip - just to give the Americans an even closer look.


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Posted By Worldmeets.US Sept. 18, 2013, 8:09am