A summary of testimony given by Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in Washington, D.C., at a public hearing on

Directions for Brazil-United States Relations

Committee on Foreign Relations and National Defense of the Federal Senate

Plenary 7 - Senator Alexandre Costa Wing, April 3, 2014

I am honored by the invitation from Chairman Ricardo Ferraço to appear before the Brazilian Senate Foreign Relations and National Defense Committee and congratulate him for his timely initiative to host this public audience on Brazil-United States relations.

Proximity and distancing have marked the ties between the two nations since 1823, when the young republic of North America became the first country to recognize Brazil’s independence from Portugal. Today, we are witnessing a moment of estrangement, not yet overcome, caused by revelations of electronic monitoring of the Brazilian government and citizens by the National Security Agency of the United States.

What differentiates the sudden cooling in the bilateral dialogue during the second half of 2013, and which I presume is the reason for convening this public hearing, is the timing.  It came about when the governments of both countries seemed to have left behind the disagreements of recent years and were working to build a productive relationship, based on the recognition of converging national interests of the two largest democracies and economies in the Americas. In other words, relations between Brazil and the United States suffered a major setback at a time when they seemed poised to be elevated to a much higher level of engagement. 

Read full testimony in attached PDF.