March 8, 2014
Rousseff calls off state visit to US over spying
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has called off plans for a state visit to Washington in October because of revelations that the United States spied on her personal communications and those of other Brazilians.
Rousseff's decision, which came despite a 20-minute telephone call from President Barack Obama last night in an attempt to salvage the trip, is a big blow to relations between the two biggest economies in the Americas.
Both the White House and Rousseff's office officially billed the decision as a postponement, and said a state visit could take place at an unspecified later date.
The trip was expected to be a platform for deals on oil exploration and biofuels technology, and Brazil's potential purchase of fighter jets from Chicago-based Boeing Co.
The defense contract worth more than $4 billion that Boeing is seeking for the sale of 36 F-18 fighter jets to the Brazilian Air Force could be the main victim of the spying affair. Brazilian officials have said Brazil cannot buy such strategic aircraft from a country it cannot trust.
The spying revelations sparked a political uproar in Brazil that Rousseff could not ignore. A senior government official told Reuters that Rousseff's top advisers, including her mentor and predecessor as president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, encouraged her to scrap the state visit.