Legal Magazine

New US Ambassador Brings Hope of Cooperation and Investment to Brazil

Posted on the 12 November 2013 by Angelicolaw @AngelicoLaw

Newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, Liliana Ayalde, arrived to her post in September amid international concern over the U.S. spying program that allegedly collected data on billions of telephone and email conversations in countries that include Brazil. The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) is reported to have targeted Brazilian citizens, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, high-ranking Brazilian politicians, and Brazil’s largest company, Petrobras.

In her initial public statements, Ambassador Ayalde did not directly address the tense diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Brazil. In September, President Rousseff canceled a state visit to meet with President Obama at the White House even after a call directly from President Obama to discuss the NSA surveillance program.

Explaining the cancellation, President Rousseff released a statement that read, “The illegal practices of intercepting communications and data of Brazilian citizens, businesses and government members constitute a serious assault on national sovereignty and individual rights, and are incompatible with the democratic coexistence between friendly countries.” In her opening speech at the United Nations on September 24th, President Rousseff strongly criticized the intelligence program.

Ambassador Ayalde did acknowledge that this is an important time in the relationship between the U.S. and Brazil – a time “full of opportunities and possibilities.” Her apparent focus will be on “re-imaging” the relationship between the two countries and constructing a new strategic partnership. She pointed to the value of sports diplomacy programs that support a culture of teamwork among youth, and educational exchange programs as ways to leverage the power of interpersonal relationships.

Ambassador Ayalde also wants to focus on the countries working together on projects that expand trade and investment to boost and sustain economic growth. It has been reported that the Ambassador will be initially busy overseeing an important international transaction – Brazil’s purchase of U.S.-made Boeing fighter aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force.

A former U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay, Ambassador Ayalde is the daughter of a Colombian doctor and she speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese. She brings with her more than 30 years of experience in diplomacy. Most recently she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere overseeing U.S. relations with Central America, the Caribbean, and Cuba. Prior to that post she was the Senior Assistant Administrator for the Latin American and Caribbean Bureau for the United States Agency for International Development, where she coordinated development assistance programs in Mexico, Haiti, and the Caribbean.

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