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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Argentina Seeks to Avoid 2nd Debt Default in 13 Years

Argentina says it will make another effort to reach a deal with a group of US creditors
More

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surge

Inaccurate claims suggest US will give amnesty to young migrants
More

US Disappointed in Netherlands' Release of Drug Trafficking Suspect

State Department spokesman says legitimate request made for Hugo Carvajal’s arrest under extradition treaty between US, Netherlands and Aruba
More

UN Panel Meets on Global Aging

HelpAge presents nearly 300,000 signatures calling for UN Treaty
More

Video Clock Ticking for Congress to Act on US Border Crisis

This week is lawmakers’ last chance before recess to respond to surge of undocumented children arriving at America’s southern frontier
More

US Considers Screening Youth in Honduras for Refugee Status

Officials say children could be interviewed before they make dangerous journey to US border, as tens of thousands of children from Central America have done already this year
More