Brazil Sees 'Shadow of Distrust' in U.S. Spying ; Foreign Minister Finds Kerry's Explanation on N.S.A. Programs Lacking

By Romero, Simon | International Herald Tribune, August 15, 2013 | Go to article overview

Brazil Sees 'Shadow of Distrust' in U.S. Spying ; Foreign Minister Finds Kerry's Explanation on N.S.A. Programs Lacking


Romero, Simon, International Herald Tribune


Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota of Brazil dismissed as unsatisfactory Secretary of State John Kerry's explanation of the N.S.A.'s spying.

Brazil's foreign minister has excoriated the surveillance practices of the United States, dismissing as unsatisfactory Secretary of State John Kerry's explanation of the wide-ranging collection of data on telephone and electronic communications and describing the spying as "a new type of challenge" in Brazil's relationship with the United States.

Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota issued the unusual expression of indignation over the National Security Agency's spying programs while standing next to Mr. Kerry at a news conference on Tuesday in Brasilia, the capital, where the secretary of state had stopped on a two-day trip to South America, largely in an attempt to allay concerns in Brazil about the N.S.A.'s spying.

Resentment has festered in Brazil since revelations of the surveillance practices emerged in July, detailing how the agency established a data collection center in Brasilia and prioritized Brazil, with its vast telecommunications hubs and large population of 200 million, as among the agency's most spied-upon countries.

Washington's ties with Brazil remain warm: President Dilma Rousseff is scheduled to go to the White House in October for a highly anticipated state visit; high-level contacts continue in areas like energy and agriculture, according to Mr. Patriota; and trade between the two countries is thriving (though still eclipsed by Brazil's robust commerce with China). Still, the surveillance has clearly struck a nerve.

Mr. Patriota, a former ambassador to the United States, said that the surveillance practices "cast a shadow of distrust" over bilateral relations and that "listening to explanations doesn't mean accepting the status quo."

Mr. Kerry absorbed these comments before defending the programs and trying to assuage concerns. …

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