Dilma Rousseff is in the US this week on a state visit originally scheduled for 2013, which she cancelled after Edward Snowden revealed the NSA had been spying on Brazilians’ communications, including her own. Brazil’s economy—and its president’s approval ratings—are in shambles, so she really needs this trip to go well.
Folha de São Paulo reported that Dilma (as she is widely known) would bring no less than 90 people along with her (link in Portuguese), including at least ten members of her cabinet—and perhaps most importantly, her minister of finance, Joaquim Levy. Slightly awkward: The entourage is too big to fit in the four townhouses that make up Blair House, the White House’s accommodation for guests on state visits.
Here’s what’s on the docket for Dilma and company:
“We need to reduce the risks of doing business in Brazil,” Dilma told the Wall Street Journal on Monday in New York, where she met with business leaders, hoping to draw investment for a proposed $62 billion infrastructure program. One meeting included executives from JP Morgan, Blackrock, and Citigroup, as well as former US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner.
That’s a “working” dinner, not a state dinner (which is too bad, because it would have been great to see Michelle Obama or Jill Biden wear the work of Brazilian designers), but it seems that turning down one of those invites makes it hard to get another.
Vice president Joe Biden is probably the one who can make this dinner go a bit more smoothly, thanks to a warm personal relationship with Rousseff that goes back a generation. The two already chatted by phone in preparation for Dilma’s visit, and he’s hosting her for lunch on Tuesday.
Climate change is said to be at the top of the leaders’ agenda. It’s likely the two countries will come to a formal agreement on tackling the issues of climate change before the UN World Climate Change Conference next year in Paris, and it would stand to reason that the world’s fifth most populous country, fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and—perhaps most importantly—the home of the world’s largest rainforest (ie: carbon sink) will be an important partner when it comes to moving the needle on global warming.
Also to discuss: Trade, defense, technology, Cuba, and Venezuela (link in Portguese).
What’s a trip to the US without a visit to California? On Wednesday, Dilma will go to the San Francisco bay area, where she’ll visit Google, a NASA research center (Brazil may be shopping for a new partner in launching satellites), and have lunch with Silicon Valley executives at Stanford, hosted by Condoleezza Rice. The 66th US secretary of state was a former White House ally of Dilma’s Worker’s Party (PT) from the days when George W. Bush and Lula da Silva were presidents (link in Portuguese).
By Wednesday, they should have plenty to talk about.