LATIN AMERICA: Fallout from NSA Intel Revelations, Brazil-Argentina Cyber Pact, Colombian Drug Ring Busted

September 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Brazil’s Steamed

Brazil (CIA World Fact book)

Brazil (CIA World Fact book)

Relations have been strained between the United States and Brazil since disclosures by a rogue contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA) revealed widespread spying by the U.S. on Brazil.

Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, was said to be furious over the revelations that the NSA had been conducting widespread spying on her, her top advisers and Brazil’s largest oil company — Petrobras. . Brasilia has demanded a full explanation from Washington and Rousseff has postponed her planned state visit to Washington, scheduled for late October, according to the New York Times, which called the decision a “sharp rebuke to the Obama administration.

Rousseff’s move was seen as a stunning diplomatic setback for the United States which has been trying to improve relations with South America’s largest country and biggest economy after a shaky relationship with her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, according to AFP. The Brazilian president has called the spying “an illegal act” and a violation of Brazilian sovereignty.

Brazil-Argentina Cyber Defense Pact

How bad are relations between Brazil and the United States over disclosures that the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has collected data on billions of phone and email conversations in Brazil — including President Dilma Rousseff’s personal communications? Pretty bad.

Not only has Rousseff postponed a long-planned state visit to Washington, but Brazil has agreed to a cyber defense pact with Argentina, according to Press TV reports.

The agreement was reached following Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim’s recent meeting with his Argentine counterpart, Agustin Rossi in Buenos as Aires. The military agreement commits Brazil to train Argentina’s military in cyber defense starting in 2014.

Colombia Drugs

Police in Colombia have captured 16 drug dealers that were paert of a ring that grows and distributes marijuana through small convenience in the country’s major cities, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

Colombia and Venezuela: Wikipedia image

Colombia and Venezuela: Wikipedia image

Four of the suspects were caught ransporting 1,000 kilograms (2,200 pounds) of marijuana by truck” in  Bogota,” according to the national police.

The police said the drug ring paid a “gram tax” on marijuana to the country’s largest armed rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The Colombian government has accused the FASRC of involvement in drug trafficking  — as has the United States. The rebels deny the charge. The FARC and the government are currently holding peace talks in Havana, Cuba, to put an end to five decades of fighting.

Both sides ended their 14th round of negotiations Thursday (September 19), issuing a joint statement saying they had made progress, according to Reuters.

The statement said the parties “continue advancing in developing and writing up accords … around the second point of the agenda on political participation,” including rights and guarantees for the exercise of political opposition, Reuters said. But the FARC accused the government of trying to impose unilaterally the conditions on any future peace agreement.

The government in Bogota wants a peace accord by November when the national electoral cycle starts. But both sides say that deadline won’t be met and may complicate the presidential vote in May 2014.

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Entry filed under: Latin America, National Security and Defense, News Developments, Technology. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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