Thursday, 05 September 2013
Revelations of a U.S. spy program that allegedly allows digital surveillance of the presidents of Brazil and Mexico have drawn cries of indignation and anger in both nations, but the fallout may be strongest for U.S.-Brazil relations.
At stake is whether Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will cancel a planned state visit to Washington in October, the first offered by President Barack Obama this year, or will take action on digital security that may affect U.S. companies such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo.
Brazil’s O Globo television network reported Sunday night that the National Security Agency had spied on the emails, telephone calls and text messages of Rousseff and President Enrique Pena Nieto of Mexico. The report was based on documents obtained by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, from Edward Snowden, a fugitive former NSA contractor who’s living in Moscow.
O Globo’s “Fantastico” program displayed an NSA document dated June 2012 that contained email sent by Pena Nieto, who was a presidential candidate at the time, discussing whom he might name to his Cabinet once elected. The network displayed a separate document that revealed communication patterns between Rousseff and her top advisers.
The revelations drew expressions of indignation in Brazil and Mexico.
Rousseff held an emergency Cabinet meeting Monday and her foreign minister, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, summoned U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon for the second time since early July.
At a joint news conference Monday in Brasilia with Minister of Justice Jose Eduardo Cardozo, Figueiredo called the actions “an inadmissible and unacceptable violation of Brazilian sovereignty” and said Brazil expected a written explanation from the White House by the end of the week.