“Washington doesn’t get it.” David Rothkopf on the “business as usual” attitude in the U.S. about NSA revelations in Latin America.

Lúcia Guimarães

02 de setembro de 2013 | 17h04

Foreign Policy’s Editor-at-Large and CEO David Rothkopf thinks Washington fails to understand how spying revelations play out in Brazil and the rest of Latin America and cater to the worst stereotypes about how the United States will treat their Latin neighbors. “The new NSA revelations add a degree of tension to the US-Brazil relationship that I don’t think many in Washington fully understand,” Rothkopf told O Estado de S.Paulo.


David Rothkopf (Courtesy Foreign Policy)

On Sunday, September 1st, the program “Fantástico”, on the Globo network, showed a long report and an interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald, who lives in Rio de Janeiro, detailing NSA interception of communications between President Dilma Rousseff and then Mexican presidential candidate Enrique Peña Nieto. The NSA documents are dated June of 2012. The report provided to Greenwald by Edward Snowden, who was granted asylum in Russia, the American agency read emails by President Peña Nieto announcing future members of his cabinets.

Dilma Rousseff’s emails appear to not have been read but her communications with aides were mapped out, in an effort deemed  “successful” for future operations and the understanding of Brazil’s President’s exchanges with her staff and main interlocutors.

President Dilma Rousseff held an unscheduled meeting Monday morning with a group of ministers and Gilberto Carvalho, Secretary-General of the Presidency emerged declaring that “We are in an emergency situation.” Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo called the American Ambassador in Brasília, Thomas Shannon, to discuss the new revelations.

In July, Glenn Greenwald cooperated with newspaper O Globo on a report about how Brazil had become the largest target of NSA spying in Latin America. Dilma Rousseff is scheduled to visit Washington in October. President Obama is offering her the only State Dinner to take place at the White House this year.

David Rothkopf thinks that “to Washington, this is just business as usual. But in Brazil it is seen as a violation of trust and of basic rights. ” He fears that the revelations may create a pressure for Rousseff to cancel the trip to the U.S. “They will certainly complicate preparations for Dilma’s upcoming trip to the U.S.  At the very least, this will be the unintended central theme of the trip and she will have to find a way to effectively communicate her unhappiness with these developments,”  he says. “A cancellation of the trip would be a pity, since the only way to repair the damage done is through high-level communications.”






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