Biden mends fences with Brazil during World Cup visit

The Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, spoke to journalists on Tuesday after meeting with President Dilma Rousseff. Neither the U.S. nor Brazilian governments have issued official statements on the meeting, but Biden confirmed that allegations of U.S. spying were a key topic.

“This is a topic of great importance for people here, and it’s also of great importance to us,” Biden said. “Dilma and I had a frank talk about this.”

Rousseff called off a state visit to the U.S. in October after reports that the National Security Agency was spying on communications data from herself and state-run oil giant Petrobras. In a move that was widely seen as retaliation for the alleged spying, Rousseff enacted in April a law dubbed “the Internet Bill of Rights” (Marco Civil da Internet) during the opening ceremony of the NETmundial, a conference on the future of internet governance held in São Paulo.

Biden also announced after the meeting that the U.S. government is collaborating with the National Truth Commission set up to investigate  human rights violations during and immediately after Brazil’s military dictatorship. He turned over to Brazilian authorities classified U.S. documents dating from 1964 to 1985.

Biden also highlighted the importance of bilateral relations between Brazil and the U.S., noting that bilateral trade between the two nations reached $80 billion in 2010. “We are two great democracies of entrepreneurial people,” he said “We have great potential to strengthen our relations, and this was reflected in our conversation today.”

Biden came to Brazil along with a granddaughter and a nephew to watch the U.S. play Ghana as part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Natal on Monday; the U.S. won 2-1. Brazil has lived up to Biden’s expectations as host of the tournament, he said. “Brazil has done an incredible job. We wanted to show our support to the country and to the Brazilian people as hosts of the games.”

With reporting from ABr; photo by Marcelo Camargo/ABr

Written by Sergio Barreto

Brazilian-American editor, web developer and (occasional) event promoter. As founder and content director for this site, I keep an eye on what's wrong with Brazil, but what really makes my heart beat faster is sharing the exciting things happening in Brazilian tech, music, film, and other creative industries.

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