By Maria Lopez Conde, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has canceled her state visit to the United States this October over allegations that the U.S. spied on the telecommunications of Brazilian citizens and Rousseff’s inner circle of advisors. This is the latest development in the diplomatic row that has strained relations between the two allies.
Despite a twenty-minute phone call from President Barack Obama on Monday night to explain the U.S.’ National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance program, President Rousseff decided to postpone her trip.
In a release circulated yesterday, Rousseff’s press office said that the two countries had not reached an agreement on the allegations and that Brazil had not received proper explanations over the breadth of the spying program.
“The illegal practices of interception of communication and citizens’ data, companies and members of the Brazilian government constitute a serious threat to national sovereignty and individual rights and it is incompatible with democratic coexistence between friendly countries,” the press release read.
“Taking into account the proximity of the State Visit to Washington – and in the absence of a swift investigation into what happened, with the corresponding explanations and the commitment to cease interception activities – the conditions for the visit on the previously agreed upon date are not there.”
The decision to postpone the meeting was billed as a mutual agreement by both governments. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters in Washington that both leaders felt the surveillance program would dominate the agenda during the State Visit and would not allow the presidents to discuss issues of bilateral interest.
President Rousseff has been tough on the U.S. spying accusations since they were first published in O Globo in July. News of the American-run surveillance program came from NSA contractor turned whistleblower, Edward Snowden, by way of Glenn Greenwald, a Rio de Janeiro-based journalist.
In August, fresh allegations of spying on President Dilma Rousseff’s inner circle of advisors were met with much anger and further demands for transparency. Last week, Greenwald revealed Brazil’s largest company, Petrobras, had also been targeted by the U.S.’ surveillance program.
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