Obama and Rousseff in 2012. (Image: Roberto Stuckert Filho, CC BY 3.0 BR)
Brazil, Latin America: Week in Review, Southern Cone

Brazil President Courting Investors on Visit to U.S.

June 29, 2015 By Staff

Top Story — Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff met with investors in New York on Sunday ahead of a planned meeting with her U.S. counterpart Barack Obama, the first to take place in the U.S. since Rousseff called off a state visit in 2013 in the wake of revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on her.

Rousseff, who arrived on Saturday, will meet more business figures in New York on Monday, in part to give a presentation on a $62 billion infrastructure project that involves more than 100 contracts, the Associated Foreign Press reported.

Monday night, the two presidents will sit down for an official dinner, with another meeting scheduled on Tuesday. The AFP characterized their meetings as aimed at “overcoming strains” over the 2013 NSA revelations. It comes in the context of Rousseff’s declining popularity at home — as low as 10 percent approval rating — due in part to a corruption probe and an economic recession.

Observers have suggested that another reason for Rousseff’s visit is the pursuit of additional foreign investment, including companies to assist with her infrastructure plans. Many of Brazil’s largest construction companies have been implicated by investigators hunting for corruption.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • U.S. real estate tycoon and presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to face widespread criticism in the United States and Mexico for comments he made regarding Mexican migrants, whom he characterized as drug-traffickers and “rapists” that should be kept out of the country by constructing a “great wall.”
  • Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto underwent gallbladder surgery on Friday and is expected to recover and resume work on Monday.


  • Puerto Rican Gov. Alejandro García Padilla’s spokesman confirmed on Sunday that Padilla believes the island’s $72 billion public debt is unpayable, a statement that is expected to have far-reaching consequences for an international financial system already shaken by the potential debt default by Greece.
  • Three U.S. senators visited Cuba over the weekend, where they called on the U.S. Congress to lift a ban on travel to the island.
  • Around thirty monkeys were freed from a Puerto Rican primate research center after someone broke the lock at their enclosures.

Central America

  • Protesters marched again in Honduras and Guatemala over the weekend, calling for an end to corruption and the resignation of the respective countries’ presidents in what some are calling the “Central American Spring.”


  • The Socialist party of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro held primary elections on Sunday, ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled to take place on Dec. 6.
  • The interior minister of Colombia has urged the courts in his country to legalize marriage between gays and lesbians, and support adoption by same-sex couples, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states on Friday.
  • A tense standoff in rural Colombia between riot police and farmers — who, allegedly acting on orders by FARC rebels, set fire to provisional police barracks in the hamlet of El Mango — has compelled a United Nations envoy to plead for restraint.

Southern Cone

  • A policeman in Brazil was caught shooting at two teenage suspects at close range as they crouched on the ground, wounding both, in footage that was broadcast live across several Brazilian news stations.
  • A federal judge in Argentina has ordered assets worth $156 million to be seized from five American and European oil companies currently drilling in the Falkland Islands, though the means by which to implement the measure remain unclear, according to the BBC.

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