By Ben Tavener, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – The United States has informed the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the current U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Thomas A. Shannon, will end his rotation in the country later this year. Media sources report that Shannon will most likely leave Brazil after President Dilma Rousseff has made her state visit to Washington D.C., planned for October.
The switch over is within the normal cycle of ambassadorial terms, but no official time frame has yet been given. No indication of who will replace him has been announced either, but that the handover will reportedly be agreed on “shortly.”
The Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota was informed by Shannon in parallel talks with the recently-appointed U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry. The decision on President Rousseff’s state visit to the U.S. was also agreed upon during the discussions, it is understood.
The Itamaraty said it would not be commenting on Shannon’s departure as it was a matter concerning the United States.
Shannon was confirmed as the United States’ Ambassador to Brazil – formally known as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary – in December 2009 and arrived shortly afterwards, at the start of 2010, replacing businessman Clifford M. Sobel as Ambassador, who was appointed by former president George W. Bush in 2006.
Shannon’s appointment was warmly welcomed by Brazilian officials: he was a figure admired by the country’s Diplomatic Service, and was seen as sign that the U.S. was taking Brazil more seriously.He has overseen visits to Brazil by President Barack Obama and the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Shannon also had a hand in making visas more easily accessible for Brazilians wishing to visit the U.S., in part by overseeing the opening of new visa consulates in Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte. Earlier this year it was rumored that visas between the two countries could soon end.
This was not Shannon’s first diplomatic job in Brazil: he served between 1989 and 1992 as a special adviser to the then ambassador, Richard Huntington Melton.
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