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U.S.-Brazilian relations are the most complex they have been in recent memory. The Brazil-Turkey-Iran negotiations were just the most recent example of Brazil’s and the United States’ differences in perception yet the relationship between these two large countries should be able to transcend their differences. –Ed.

United States-Brazil Relations under Obama and Lula

by Mark S. Langevin, Ph.D.

Gravity has always kept the United States and Brazil within close orbit, but the recent turbulence in their bilateral relations is cause for concern and an important challenge for their respective governments.  Most scholars of U.S.-Brazil relations were surprised at the intensive presidential diplomacy carried out by former U.S. President George W. Bush and Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Today, more than a few are increasingly critical of the bilateral relationship under President Barack Obama’s administration.1 The bilateral agenda is ever more complex and both Presidents Obama and Lula are now accelerating efforts to deepen cooperation, but this hard work is too often frustrated, sidetracked, and even spoiled by a growing list of contentious issues.  Although the sheer gravitational pull of people, trade, and investment draws these countries together, the breadth and complexity of the bilateral relationship now churns up greater turbulence than ever before.

The double edged issue area of trade has always propelled and perplexed U.S.-Brazil relations, but the failed negotiations for a Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement (FTAA), the stalled Doha round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, and Brazil’s successful prosecution of the U.S. marketing subsidies for domestic cotton producers at the WTO have all combined to challenge negotiators and policymakers from both governments while making the flight path to further economic integration all the more bumpy.  Also, Presidents Obama and Lula plotted divergent responses to the Honduran coup that ousted former President Jose Zelaya on June 28, 2009.  Late last year President Lula stood before the delegates to the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), known as the COP15, in Copenhagen with a disapproving gaze upon the U.S. delegation to voice his discontent with the developed world’s responses to global warming and climate change. This year, both governments skirmished behind the dead and debris of Haiti’s earthquake as Washington adopted a unilateral initiative to work directly with the fractured government of Port-au-Prince and sidestep the Brazilian command of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).2

Clearly Washington and Brasilia can cooperate when they can avoid or steer clear of turbulence. Last year the Obama administration announced a military cooperation agreement with Colombia without consulting Brazil, setting off a firestorm of Brazilian and South American condemnation against the White House and Pentagon. Yet, just months later U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim inked the first bilateral military cooperation accord in decades.3 The agreement is limited to facilitating greater exchanges between these nations’ armed forces, but it does illustrate the political will and diplomatic capacity to cooperate where and when possible. In May of 2010 the U.S. and Brazil convened the “Call to Action” conference of the U.S-Brazil Joint Action Plan to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Discrimination and Promote Equality or JAPER, an ongoing effort to exchange experiences and best practices in an effort to end discrimination and racism.4 Of course, these inspired efforts to consolidate greater cooperation are juxtaposed to the ongoing and potentially bitter discord over the Iranian nuclear challenge and the future of the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT. Members of the Obama administration have called into question President Lula’s efforts to broker a resolution to the conflict fueled by Iran’s nuclear program, verifying the greater than ever weight of this bilateral relationship and its potential for turbulent times ahead.  Given the increasing geopolitical importance of the bilateral relationship, can the U.S. and Brazilian governments ride out such turbulence and jointly set course on expanding cooperation to confront such global issues as non-proliferation, global warming, terrorism, and trade; or will the new jumbo sized bilateral agenda fail to take off?

This article explores this question by offering an analysis of the underlying forces of gravity that keep these two nations within the same geopolitical orbit despite their different, and often divergent flight paths. The first section of this article describes and assesses several key structural linkages that bridge these two nations, including: immigration, remittances, trade, and foreign direct investment.  This section reveals the increasing importance of the Brazilian immigrant community in the U.S. and the strategic, developmental nature of Brazil’s industrial exports to U.S. markets. The second section surveys the current bilateral turbulence by examining the WTO cotton case and the Iranian nuclear challenge as representative issues that reflect the growing international importance of the U.S. and Brazil dyad and reveal the divergent policy frames that can incite bilateral commotion.

The Forces of Gravity
U.S.-Brazil relations feature a dense web of social and economic relationships that exact greater cooperation and partnership.  Brazilian emigration to the U.S. has grown exponentially, increasing the social, organizational, and economic connections between the citizens of both countries, including remittances that Brazilian immigrants send to relatives back home.  Trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) flows between the two countries have multiplied in ways that deepen commercial relations despite the high profile trade conflicts that plague the bilateral trading agenda.  The movement of people, goods, services, and investments between the U.S. and Brazil is accelerating, too, without much fanfare or scholarly attention.5 Moreover, these forces of gravity continue to amplify cross-national connections and consequently test U.S. and Brazilian governments in both bilateral and multilateral arenas across a host of issues.

Possibly the most important, but least examined structural factor shaping contemporary U.S.-Brazil relations is the recent boom in Brazilian emigration to the U.S.  Few scholars of U.S.-Brazil relations note the disproportionate numbers of Brazilian immigrants residing in the U.S.  Almeida and Barbosa (2006) make little mention of Brazilian emigration to the U.S. and its impact upon bilateral relations.6 Hirst (2005) notes that Brazilians residing abroad and in the U.S. have created a new diplomatic issue for the Brazilian government and have become a major duty for the nine (9) Brazilian consulates located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.7 Yet, Hirst downplays the importance of Brazilian emigration by reporting that

“Compared to other Latin communities in the United States, the Brazilian group does not hold a strong sense of community and its members usually perceive their presence in the United States as temporary…  Brazilians form an isolated group within the immense population of immigrants in the United States.  Their social networking is based on family reunification processes and/or new links, especially by intermarriage, with U.S. citizens (2005:60).”

Hirst is correct to conclude that Brazilians do not form a large immigrant community by comparative U.S. standards. However, their increasing numbers and geographic concentration in and around many of the United State’s most important urban centers now shape bilateral relations in ways unanticipated by either Almeida and Barbosa (2006) or Hirst (2005).

Hirst (2005) reports that 600,000 Brazilian resided in the U.S. during the first half of the decade, comprising only twenty five (25) percent of all Brazilian immigrants worldwide.  These estimates are much less than those calculated by the Brazilian federal government whose methodology measures the large influx of Brazilians who overstayed their visas or crossed U.S. borders to obtain work or join family members residing in the U.S in recent years.  The Brazilian government estimates that over three million Brazilians lived abroad in 2008.8 Those living in the U.S. amounted to forty two (42) percent of all Brazilian immigrants and numbered 1.28 million.  Taken together, Brazilians who resided in the other leading recipient countries, including Paraguay, Japan, the United Kingdom, Portugal, and Spain in 2008, composed only 23.5 percent of Brazilian immigrants. While the numbers of Brazilians emigrating have probably receded in recent years due to the global financial downturn and Brazil’s quick recovery;9 the eventual expansion of the U.S. economy is likely to invite further Brazilian emigration for work and family reunification.

Indeed, as Hirst (2005) indicates, Brazilians residing in the U.S. have created new pressures upon Brazil’s U.S. based consulates and the Foreign Ministry (or Itamaraty as it is called).  There are significant concentrations of Brazilian immigrant communities in Boston, Miami, and New York with secondary, but growing communities in Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.  Approximately 700,000 Brazilians work and live in the Boston and New York areas alone.10 The state of Florida has the largest trade flows with Brazil and over 300,000 Brazilians live in the Miami area with other significant communities in Orlando and Tampa Bay. Increasingly, Brazilian immigrant communities and representative social organizations, such as the Brazilian Immigrant Center11 in Boston, are working through consulates, the Foreign Ministry, local elected officials, and Brazilian congressional representatives to advance their distinct interests and policy preferences in both the U.S. and Brazil.  In this sense, Hirst (2005) underestimates how immigrant based social networking can quickly escalate into community organizing, political organization, and eventually concerted activity to change government policies and programs in both countries.

In recent years, Brazilian immigrants working alone and in concert with the Brazilian government have advanced a number of key concerns.  In 2003 Brazilian immigrant leaders from the Boston and New York areas met with President Lula to discuss the possibility of instituting consultative mechanisms between Brazilians residing in the U.S. and his administration. In 2004 Brazilian immigrant organizations in California played key roles in the formation and development of the California Senate’s California-Brazil Strategic Partnership.12 In 2005 Brazil’s San Francisco Consulate General, Georges Lamaziere, spearheaded the first ever Brazilian Immigrant Conference at the University of San Francisco.  Later that year, Brazilian immigrant leaders, the Brazilian Immigrant Center, and the Brazil Strategy Network coalesced to organize the first ever National Summit of Brazilian Immigrant Leaders in Boston.13 President Lula’s Workers Party promotes and maintains an organizational structure linking party militants residing in the U.S. with its National Directorate.14 Brazil’s Ministry of Labor and Employment published a guide for Brazilians living abroad in 2007 as an effort to assist immigrant communities in Europe and the United States to better understand their precarious working conditions and legal protections. In 2006 the Foreign Ministry established a sub secretariat for Brazilians living aboard and convoked the first ever conference on immigration in 2008. In October of 2009, the Brazilian foreign ministry held the second Conference of Brazilian Immigrant Communities and launched the innovative website, Brasileiros no Mundo: Portal das Comunidades Brasileiras do Exterior (Brazilians in the World: Web Portal of the Brazilian Immigrant Communities).15 Brazilian immigrant communities and representative organizations throughout the U.S. sent delegates to this conference to present an array of documents and proposals to promote greater government attention to the experiences and concerns of Brazilians living in the U.S., including the need for more consular services and bilateral cooperation to ease the movement of people and money across borders.  These initiatives, anchored to the very large population of Brazilians now residing in the U.S., reveal the density of social relations bridging these two nations and illustrate the growing number of organizational and political intersections between these immigrants and governmental authorities.

Brazilian emigration to the U.S. is also accompanied by growing remittances to family members and business associates in Brazil.  By 2004 remittances from the U.S. to Brazil accounted for 50 percent of all remittances received by Brazilians.16 According to the Bendixen and Associates report, 1.3 million Brazilians received remittances from relatives or friends living abroad in 2004, totaling $5.4 billion or nearly one percent of Brazil’s Gross National Product (GNP).  Although the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) reports that remittances to Brazil have recently declined  to $4.7 billion in 2009, it is likely that this fall in individual transfers is momentary.17 Although some Brazilians have returned home due to the economic downturn in the U.S. and Europe, it is likely that remittances from the U.S. to Brazil will continue to grow in tandem with the U.S. economic expansion and coupled to the broadening set of social and economic relations between the citizens and residents of both countries.  While remittances to Brazil are much less important than those sent to other nations in the Americas, they do constitute the second largest transfer to Latin America and the Caribbean, next to Mexico.18 Indeed, if Brazilian emigration to the U.S. and remittances to Brazil are valid indicators, then the social relations between the populations of the U.S. and Brazil challenge government policymakers from both countries while providing a solid base for greater cooperation.

Bilateral trade between the U.S. and Brazil has always been politically important for the former and economically essential for the later, but the recent trend indicates that Brazil’s economic modernization is dependent in new and less onerous forms on two-way bilateral trade in technology intensive manufactures and capital goods.  The increasing movement of Brazilians between the U.S. and Brazil certainly encourages greater trade in retail goods and services, but the key trade in manufactures and capital goods weaves an ever deeper interdependency and spurs greater investment that together demand sustainable bilateral cooperation between the respective governments.

U.S.-Brazil trade activity rose dramatically from 2003 to 2008, falling off in 2009 when the U.S. recession was in full downward swing.19 From 2003 to 2008 U.S. exports to Brazil increased from $11.2 billion to nearly $32.3 billion, while Brazilian imports rose from nearly $18 billion to $30.4 billion during the same period.  Trade balances shifted during the period as well, with Brazil registering a favorable bilateral balance of just over $9 billion in 2005 and the U.S. making up ground with a positive margin of over $6 billion in 2009 due in part to the contracting U.S. demand for Brazilian imports during the recession.  By 2008, before the U.S. recession and global financial crisis pulled worldwide trade down by approximately 25 percent, U.S.-Brazil trade reached almost $63 billion dollars, an increase of 54 percent in only five years.  China surpassed the U.S. as Brazil’s largest trading partner in 2009, largely an outcome of the U.S. recession and China’s growing demand for Brazilian export commodities.  However, a vibrant U.S. economic recovery will renew the dynamic growth of bilateral trade in the coming years and reinforce the key role that Brazilian technology intensive exports play in national development. 

A deeper analysis of U.S.-Brazil bilateral trade demonstrates the importance of technology intensive manufactures and capital goods, rather than a reliance on commodity driven trade.  Of the nineteen leading U.S. exports to Brazil in 2008, those with volumes in excess of $500 million in value, only three, petroleum products, fuel oils and metallurgical grade coal are low value added commodities.20 Seventeen percent of U.S. exports to Brazil in 2008 were civilian aircraft. Other leading exports to Brazil include: chemicals, computer accessories, plastics, telecommunications equipment, chemical fertilizers, semi-conductors, pharmaceutical preparations, electrical and industrial machines, drilling and oilfield equipment, industrial engines, railway and excavating equipment; all intermediate industrial products and capital goods. These technology intensive products comprise over 60 percent of U.S. exports to Brazil, thereby providing a growing and reliable export market for high value added U.S. manufactures while making a strategic contribution to Brazil’s economic development.

On the other side of the ledger, Brazil’s exports to the U.S. are increasingly diversified across economic sectors.  Energy products such as crude oil, other petroleum products, and ethanol comprise nearly 30 percent of all Brazilian exports to the U.S.21 Iron and steel products represent 11.4 percent and civilian aircraft make up another 7.3 percent of exports to the U.S.  Medium to high technology goods, such as engines, engine parts, industrial engines, pumps, compressors, and generators, and auto parts comprise another 7.0 percent of Brazilian exports.  Low value commodities, such as coffee or stone, are a shrinking portion of overall bilateral commerce while U.S. markets are likely to expand for Brazil’s energy and industrial products in the coming years.  For Brazil, bilateral trade provides Brazilian enterprises the opportunity to further develop competitive advantages in high value added, technology intensive goods, such as Embraer regional aircraft whose production serves as one of the leading edges of Brazil’s economic modernization.  Also, growing high tech trade provides greater incentives for expanding investment and technology transfer opportunities between the two nations and their private sectors. In this sense, the bilateral trading relationship is strategic, increasingly interdependent, and much more important to Brazil’s economic development than its respective commercial relations with either China or the European Union.22

Foreign Direct Investment
U. S. foreign direct investment in Brazil has grown rapidly during the past fifteen years, first with the privatization of many of Brazil’s prized state owned enterprises (SOEs) in the 1990s then followed by the period of economic expansion beginning in 2004..  U.S. FDI grew to approximately $38 billion a year during the height of the privatization process (1997-2000) and then rose to nearly $50 billion in 2007 before the U.S. recession suspended the trend.23 During the period from 1994 to 2008, U.S. FDI grew by $28 billion or 140 percent!

Expanding trade and investment also led Brazilian investors to raise their stakes in the U.S. economy.  Brazilian FDI doubled between 2002 and 2005 before falling in tandem with the run up and deepening of the U.S. recession.24  While Brazilian FDI is still insignificant as a proportion of total FDI in the U.S., the rapid increase earlier in the decade indicates the potential for growth and is associated with the rapid expansion of bilateral trade during the same period.

The economic and social relations between U.S. and Brazilian citizens and enterprises are expanding through an increasingly complex and interdependent global economy.  The sheer number of Brazilians residing in the U.S. and sharing family connections with a growing number of U.S. citizens necessarily challenges bilateral relations in new and complex ways. These social relations compel both governments to double up on efforts to engage in greater cooperation over the movement of people and money between the two nations.  Also, the growing bilateral trade, and its critical importance to Brazilian economic development, amplify the number of economic and institutional linkages and deepen their impact upon governmental affairs and political leadership.  The recent growth and future potential for increasing FDI, especially U.S. investments in an expanding array of high value, technology intensive productive activities in Brazil, multiplies the linkages between influential enterprises and promotes technology transfer.  More trade, investment, and other types of firm and sector based linkages will challenge both governments to negotiate investment protections and reach agreement on a bilateral tax treaty.  The gravity of bilateral relations, that is the increasing density in economic and social relations, places great pressure on both governments to minimize conflict and steer through the turbulence by recognizing asymmetries, recalibrating national policy positions, and engaging in recurrent and focused consultations to achieve agreement.  Yet, while the forces of gravity expand the opportunities and need for greater cooperation, they also serve to intensify the bilateral relationship and aggravate points of contention and conflict.

Turbulent Issues
Since the inauguration of President Obama in January of 2009, an increasing number of turbulent issues have agitated bilateral relations.  Most notably, the WTO cotton case came to a head with Brazil’s announcement that it would proceed with retaliatory measures, as authorized by the WTO, against U.S. imports and intellectual property protections.  This announcement in late 2009 propelled both governments to jump start negotiations to find a momentary resolution to this intractable, international commercial conflict.25 Iran’s controversial nuclear program has also provoked divergent responses from the administrations of Presidents Obama and Lula. This turbulent and potentially divisive issue, along with the WTO cotton case, jeopardizes the promise of deepening cooperation.  Moreover, these issues crystallize the variable speeds and trajectories through which these national governments formulate preferences, calculate positions, and ultimately exercise their power through an increasingly multi-polar world.  Today, Brazil advances a global diplomacy 26 while the U.S. struggles to preserve its hegemonic disposition within multilateral forums and international governmental organizations such as the WTO and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

In 2002 Brazil brought charges against U.S. marketing subsidies for domestic cotton growers to the WTO Dispute Settlement Panel and eventually won the case in 2005.  Since the panel found in favor of Brazil, the U.S. has advanced successive appeals, while in 2008 a WTO Compliance panel found the U.S. had not complied with the 2005 ruling. In late 2009 Brazil began preparations to administer the WTO authorized retaliatory measures, and in early 2010 the U.S. Trade Representative and Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce traveled to Brasilia to initiate negotiations to preempt the implementation of these measures. In April of 2010 the parties reached a tentative agreement that included the suspension of retaliatory measures in exchange for annual compensation of $147 million to be placed into a fund for Brazilian cotton producers among other provisions.  Both governments are working to flesh out the details of this agreement while also recognizing that the ultimate solution lies within the Doha round of the WTO negotiations and the reauthorization of the U.S. Farm bill in 2012.

This case illustrates the power asymmetries and respective trade negotiating positions between the U.S. and Brazil as well as ensuing bilateral friction.  The U.S. is one of the largest cotton exporters, in part a consequence of the more than generous federal government subsidies, including counter-cyclical payments and marketing loans, that boost domestic cotton production beyond purely market calculations, thereby depressing world cotton prices paid to more competitive producers.  These government payments, conceived appropriately as private goods, distort the global marketplace, lower Brazilian cotton producers’ earnings, and create sufficient turbulence to jeopardize bilateral cooperation on matters of trade and development in multilateral arenas such as the WTO’s Doha Round. Hence, the cotton case reflects, and U.S. subsidies reproduce, the developmental disparities that frame the divergent policy approaches followed by the Obama and Lula administrations and the resulting turbulence. Brazil’s victory at the WTO challenges the U.S. Congress and its willingness to abide by international trade law.  Moreover, Brazil’s position effectively highlights the major rift between the “West and the rest,” reinforcing the Lula government’s expanding leadership role in matters of trade and development around the world, and thereby framing the issue around polarity and global governance rather than just commercial conflict.  Ironically, while this case has stirred up a lot of bilateral turbulence, it may also lead both governments to increase the intensity of consultations and reboot efforts to expand bilateral trade and find more overlapping positions in the Doha negotiations.

The Iranian nuclear challenge also demonstrates the divergent positions of both countries with respect to energy, collective security, and global governance.  This turbulent issue provides Brazil with a unique historical opportunity to illustrate the defects of the NPT, play a constructive role in advancing the cause of non-proliferation, and consequently make its case for a permanent seat on a reformed United Nations Security Council.  For the Obama administration, Brazil’s non-conformist approach to Iran sharply contrasts with its heralded “convergence thesis”27 and reminds policymakers that Brazil can no longer be taken for granted or neglected in matters of geopolitical import and issues brought before the UNSC.  More than any other event in recent years, the turbulence unleashed by the Iranian nuclear challenge, serves notice on both governments that bilateral relations now play a novel and consequential role in shaping multilateral deliberations on international security and non-proliferation.

At the core of this contentious issue is the evolving polarity in the international system and how such change informs the diplomatic responses offered by Washington and Brasilia.  Iran’s uranium enrichment program has probably achieved “breakout capability,” a necessary, but insufficient step toward the production of weapon grade uranium.28 According to a recent report of the Institute of Science and International Security, Iran continues to dodge full and transparent inspections of its nuclear program facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in contravention of its obligations as a signatory to the NPT.29 During the past year, the Lula government has engaged Iran on multiple fronts, including commercial relations and efforts to guarantee Iran’s right to develop nuclear energy.  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad traveled to Brasilia to meet with President Lula in November of 2009, just months after the questionable Iranian presidential election and amidst ongoing regime efforts to stamp out public protests of his self-declared victory.  Brazil’s non-conformist, but essentially constructive diplomacy unfolded through a graduated set of ministerial meetings, culminating with President Lula’s visit to Tehran in May of 2010 to negotiate directly with President Ahmadinejad.  The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, joined the Brazilian delegation to triangulate an agreement with the Iranian regime that calls for a nuclear fuel swap, as originally proposed by the Vienna Group in 2009, but falls short of preventing Iran from developing or exercising a breakout capability.  President Lula’s diplomatic gambit now serves to undermine the Obama administration’s efforts to approve a new set of sanctions against Iran in the UNSC where Turkey holds a non-permanent seat until the end of 2010 and Brazil sits until the end of 2011.

Brazil’s big league diplomacy with Iran unveils its global ambition to play a central role in matters of non-proliferation and global governance by grabbing the diplomatic limelight precisely as it assumes it non-permanent seat o the UNSC and in association with the NPT’s 2010 Review Conference. This turbulent issue also measures the distance between the U.S. and Brazilian positions, the former framed in large measure by domestic political considerations and the latter by a decidedly strategic initiative to rebalance global polarity and reform the institutions of global governance.  Referring to his agreement with Turkey and Iran, President Lula argued,

“The deal is exactly what the United States wanted to do five months ago… As long as we have only one country wanting to solve this we will have no tranquility in the Middle East. If the UN continues like this we will have serious problems with global governance.”

A new round of sanctions against Iran or even Brazil’s agreement with the Tehran regime will not prevent Iran from producing weapons grade uranium, but the symbolic sparring between the U.S. and Brazilian governments (along with its partner Turkey) can be expected to deliver up a gust of turbulence in the coming months as Presidents Obama and Lula demonstrate divergent leadership positions on Iran and non-proliferation in general.  Regardless of the outcome of this diplomatic duel, Brazil has made its principal point with the U.S. and scored a diplomatic goal for those suspicious of Washington’s policies in the Middle East and Central Asian regions.

These turbulent issues are representative of the increasing complexity of bilateral relations, largely driven by Brasilia’s non-conformist, but multilateral diplomacy aimed at changing the rules of global governance to lessen coercion and induce greater consent among “the rest.”  This global diplomacy necessarily challenges U.S. power and influence, especially in those issue areas of greatest mutual concern, including trade and non-proliferation.  However, the dense bilateral fabric of social, organizational, and economic relations does keep both countries buckled together in close orbit. Unfortunately, these relations may not be sufficient to avert the maximum risk of allowing contentious issues to swell and eventually rupture into divisive political conflict between the two national governments.  Brazil’s rising power and unique global leadership role will continue to develop and shape global governance precisely as the U.S. leadership position faces mounting challenges abroad with fewer resources. Both governments are likely to stumble over the growing bilateral agenda, but it is critical that policymakers understand the full breadth of the social, organizational and economic relations shared by the two nations and work to develop and refine appropriate policies and programs to deepen these linkages even when the turbulence threatens to blow bilateral cooperation off course. End.


1. For criticisms of the Obama administration’s policies for Latin America and Brazil see Christopher Sabatini and Jason Marczak, “Obama’s Tango.” Foreign Affairs, January 13, 2010; and Roger F. Noriega. “Obama in the Americas: Searching for an Effective Strategy”, Latin American Outlook, American Enterprise Institute. No. 1, January 2010; and Manuel Pérez-Rocha. “Latin America: C-”, Foreign Policy In Focus, Institute for Policy Studies. February 12, 2010.

2. See Jamil Chade’s “Ação Agressiva dos EUA Causa Atrito Com a ONU.” Estado de São Paulo, January 20, 2010.

3. Zissis, Carin, “U.S.and Brazil Ink Military Pact.” Americas Society,  April 9, 2010 and accessed at:

4. See the U.S. State Department’s “U.S. and Brazil Collaborate on Racial Equality.” May 18, 2010 and accessed at:

5. See Paulo Roberto de Almeida and Rubens Antônio Barbosa, Relacoes Brasil-Estados Unidos: Assimetrias e Convergências,  Sao Paulo: Editora Saraiva, 2006; for the most comprehensive analytical treatment of bilateral relations.

6. Ibid.

7. Hirst, Monica, The United States and Brazil: A Long Road of Unmet Expectations, New York: Routledge, 2005.

8. See Brasileiros no Mundo: Estimativas, Ministério das Relações Exteriores, Subsecretaria Geral das Comunidades Brasileiras no Exterior, Departamento Consular e de Brasileiros no Exterior, Divisão de Assistência Consular. 2009, second edition.

9. See Mark S. Langevin, “Weathering the Storm in Brazil.” The Globalist, July 6, 2009.

10. Ibid.

11.The Brazilian Immigrant Center’s website can be accessed at:

12. The California-Brazil Partnership website can be accessed at:

13. For more on these events see Langevin, Mark S. “Bringing Civil Society into U.S.-Brazil Relations.” Silver City, NM: International Relations Center, February 7, 2006; and Rosita Milesi and Orlando Fantazini. “Cidadãs e Cidadãos Brasileiros no Exterior:: O Documento de Lisboa, a Carta de Boston e o Documento de Bruxelas.” Instituto Migrações e Direitos Humanos, 2008.

15. The website can be accessed at:

16. According to Bendixen and Associates, “Estudo sobre os Destinatários de Remessas no Brasil, Abril-Maio, 2004,” with data extracted from the 2004 Interamerican Development Bank’s study of remittances in Latin America.

17. Interamerican Development Bank. “The Changing Patterns of Remittances: 2008 Survey of Remittances from the United States to Latin America.” Washington, D.C. April, 2008:7.  Also, Interamerican Dialogue, Migrant Remittances Newsletter. Vol.7, No. 1, April 2010:4.

18. Orozco, Manuel. “Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean: Issues and perspectives on development.” A Report Commissioned by the Organization of American States, Washington, D.C., September 2004:4

19. All reported trade figures from U.S. Census Bureau. Foreign Trade Statistics and accessed on April 6, 2010 at:

20. Ibid.

21. Ibid.

22. Certainly Brazil’s trade with both China and the EU are important to the country’s trade balance and economic stability, but do not currently offer Brazil’s most competitive industrial companies sufficient opportunities to expand markets, operations, or further develop competitive advantages.

23. See: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

24. Ibid.

25. Schnepf, Randy and the Congressional Research Service. “Brazil’s WTO Case Against the U.S. Cotton Program.” April 6, 2010.

26. See Mark S. Langevin. “Brazil’s Big League Diplomacy.” Parts I and II at The Globalist, May 21 & 22, 2010 and accessed at: and

See Gonzalo Baeza and Mark S. Langevin. ‘The Convergence We Need? President Obama and U. S. Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean.” American Diplomacy.  March 31, 2009.  Accessed at:

See “Nuclear Iran: Not Inevitable.” Institute for Science and International Security.  January 21, 2009. Accessed at:

See “Iran’s Proposed LEU deal:  Skeptical but Awaiting Clarification.” Institute for Science and International Security.  May 17, 2010.  Accessed at:

Mark Langevin

Mark S. Langevin is Director of BrazilWorks (, Associate Researcher at the Centro Universitário de Brasília (UniCEUB), and adjunct Associate Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland-University College. He is an associate member of the Inter-American Dialogue and an advisor to the California State Senate’s California-Brazil Strategic Partnership.
Dr. Langevin researches and writes on U.S.-Brazil relations and Brazilian climate change and energy policy formation. He received his B.A. from the Evergreen State College and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Arizona.

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