Published On: December 13, 2013

Former President Bill Clinton Visits Brazil

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One of America’s most popular presidents, William Jefferson Clinton, is in Brazil this week. As Mr. Clinton is no longer a member of the US government, his visit is not an official State visit.

Bill Clinton is in Brazil at an event sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). CGI was created in 2005 by Bill Clinton as part of his organization the Clinton Foundation. The purpose of CGI is to “convene global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges”. This week CGI Latin America held its annual meeting over three days in Rio de Janiero.

While in Brazil, Mr. Clinton took the opportunity to strengthen ties with the Brazilian government by praising their work in the realm of social equality through such programs as Bolsa Familia, Brazil’s largest social welfare program. Bolsa Familia is currently the largest conditional cash transfer program in the world. Mr. Clinton also took time to grant an interview with O Globo. In it, Clinton criticized the massive spy surveillance program Washington carried out in Brazil.

 

 

Clinton said the US has no justification for the espionage on President Dilma Rousseff and the country’s state-run oil giant Petrobras, as well as on emails and telephone calls of millions of Brazilians. “We should not be getting economic information under the pretext of security. Not with an ally,” Clinton said.

He also said electronic surveillance can be used to track suspects of terrorism, and in the US, the government is only allowed to carry out surveillance to find patterns. The content of emails and calls is only monitored when a person has frequent contact with suspects of terrorism, and even so, it requires a court order, he said. Clinton admitted there had been “a lack of transparency” in explaining US government policy on surveillance.

President Rousseff had earlier warned the US that there would be a “growing reaction” from countries targeted by the spying scandal. As a result, through pressure from Brazil and Germany at the UN, the “right to privacy” resolution was passed by the UN rights committee last month.

While Mr. Clinton spends much of his time making speeches promoting the Clinton Foundation, political analysts noted his appearance in Brazil may have had political undertones. His desire to praise the government of Brazil and also criticize the US government could be interpreted as early signs of his wife Hillary’s campaign for US President in 2016.

While Hillary Clinton has not officially announced her candidacy for President, her resignation from the Cabinet position in the Obama administration as Secretary of State was read as a signal of her desire to be the Democratic successor to Obama in 2016. In 2008, Hillary faced Obama in the primary elections in their bid for the White House, with Obama eventually winning the support of the Democrats and then defeating the Republican, John McCain, in the general election. In recognition of her strong support from liberal Americans, Obama gave Hillary Clinton the most powerful position in his Cabinet, the equivalent of a Minister in Brazil.

 

 

 

[The information in this article was compiled from the websites of Globalpost.com and Bricspost and edited by CIE.]

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