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Brazil Cancels State Visit Over NSA Spying

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Posted on Sep 17, 2013
Shutterstock illustration of U.S. and Brazilian flags.

Calling the U.S. government’s spying on Brazilian officials “a grave matter, an assault on national sovereignty and individual rights, and ... incompatible with relations between friendly nations,” the South American country has pulled out of the only White House state dinner scheduled this year.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff will address the United Nations General Assembly next week on the subject of espionage. Brazil may also require American technology companies doing business in the country to host data inside Brazil’s borders and legal jurisdiction, according to the Los Angeles Times. A visit to Edward Snowden in Russia may be in the offing.

Rousseff’s motives are probably genuine—who wants to be spied on?—but domestic politics may also be a factor. Brazil has had massive anti-government protests, with elections a year out from now.

For its part, the White House downplayed the diplomatic snafu, saying the decision to indefinitely postpone the visit until a less awkward time was mutual.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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