News / Americas

Concerns Over Surveillance Cloud Kerry Visit to Colombia, Brazil

Concerns Over Surveillance Cloud Kerry Visit to Colombia, Brazili
X
August 14, 2013 1:07 AM
John Kerry made his first trip to South America as U.S. Secretary of State this week. His goal was to boost ties while he sought to temper concern about U.S. surveillance activities in the region. Details leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have complicated U.S. relationships in Latin America and beyond. VOA’s Alex Villarreal has more.
Alex Villarreal
John Kerry made his first trip to South America as U.S. Secretary of State this week. His goal was to boost ties while he sought to temper concern about U.S. surveillance activities in the region. Details leaked by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden have complicated U.S. relationships in Latin America and beyond.

Kerry's first stop was Colombia.

After a show of support for the nation's war wounded, Kerry and Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Holguin pledged cooperation and understanding - even on the issue of spying.
 
“This was, in fact, a very small part of the overall conversation, and one in which I am confident that I was able to explain thoroughly, precisely, how this has received the support of all three branches of our government," said Kerry.
 
Holguin said her country got “the necessary assurances” from the U.S. about its reported monitoring of phone calls and emails in Latin America.
 
But Kerry faced a bigger test in Brazil, where Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota warned of a loss of trust if U.S. explanations about its surveillance programs are not satisfactory.

"We need to stop practices that violate sovereignty and the relationships of trust between states, and violations of individual freedoms which our countries praise so much," said Patriota.
 
Carl Meacham, Americas director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says for Brazil, China, Russia and other countries,  that stance is hypocritical.
 
“All of these countries are involved in intelligence gathering to protect their interests, to advance their interests and to get an edge on competitors," said Meacham.
 
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says the administration will continue discussing with foreign partners the issues raised by the disclosures of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. But, she says, that shouldn't overshadow the work the U.S. needs to do with those nations.
 
“It shouldn’t detract from the broad bilateral relationships we have around the world with a variety of countries that we work with both on security cooperation, but a host of other issues as well," said Harf.
 
It's a goal that will be tested when Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff travels to Washington in October on a state visit - the only such visit of a foreign head of state this year.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

More Americas News

Drownings of Migrants Along Rio Grande Increase

Increased patrols are pushing immigrants, desperate to avoid detection, to choose more dangerous and remote crossings into South Texas, leading to surge in drownings
More

US, Cuba Teams Discuss Telecommunications Issues

US delegation visited Cuba this week as the two nations continued efforts to restore diplomatic relations broken over 50 years ago
More

Egyptian Court Adjourns Trial of Al Jazeera Journalists to April 22

Two journalists are charged with aiding a terrorist organization, a reference to the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt banned following 2013 army takeover
More

Rio Exhibition Dramatizes Olympian Bay Cleanup Task

Display highlights problem of trash in Guanabara Bay, where sailing, windsurfing events are to take place in next Summer Games
More

Chile Says Drought Permanent, Lays Out Water Plan

President Michelle Bachelet says government will invest in desalinization plants and reservoirs to ensure access to potable water
More

Poll: Venezuelan Leader's Popularity Inches Up to 25%

Rise comes after United States declared Venezuela a security threat and ordered sanctions against seven officials
More