Friday, January 2, 2015

Biden Ecstatic Over "New Beginning" With Communist Brazil


U.S. Vice President Hails “New Beginning” with Brazil

BRASILIA – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden met on Thursday with Brazilian head of state Dilma Rousseff after she was sworn-in for a second term.

“It’s a new year, a new beginning,” Biden told reporters after private talks with Rousseff. Scheduled to last 10 minutes, the meeting went on for nearly an hour, official sources told Efe.

Biden declined to discuss the content of the conversation, though he expressed the hope that Rousseff might visit the United States this year.

Bilateral relations have been somewhat strained since the summer of 2013, when American former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on Rousseff and on Brazilian state oil company Petrobras.

The revelations prompted Rousseff to cancel a state visit to Washington planned for October 2013.

Her announcement Wednesday that the current Brazilian envoy to Washington, Mauro Vieira, would switch jobs with Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo has been interpreted as a sign she wants to improve relations with the United States.

Vieira became ambassador to the United States in early 2010 and is said to have good personal relationships with senior officials at the White House and State Department.

The 67-year-old Rousseff became Brazil’s first woman president in January 2011, succeeding her political mentor, two-term head of state Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Rousseff, standard-bearer of the center-left Workers Party, won a second term in October’s presidential runoff, narrowly defeating conservative Sen. Aecio Neves, who vows to lead an energetic opposition to the government over the next four years.

Other challenges facing the one-time militant who was tortured under Brazil’s 1964-1985 military regime include a corruption scandal at state oil company Petrobras and the tricky task of reducing the budget deficit while finding ways to stimulate Brazil’s anemic economy.

In her speech on Thursday, Rousseff pledged to implement spending cuts without harming the most vulnerable or jeopardizing the reductions in poverty and hunger that have been achieved during the past 12 years of Workers Party government.


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