Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of State will head the United States delegation to attend the inauguration of Brazilian president-elect Dilma Rousseff next January first, according to an announcement from the White House.
The American delegation representing president Barack Obama also includes US ambassador in Brasília Thomas Shannon and Daniel Restrepo, special assistant to the American president and senior director Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Rousseff running as a candidate for the ruling coalition won in the run off of last October 31 elections with 56% of the votes becoming Brazil’s first woman president.
A few hours after the election, president Obama rang Ms Rousseff to congratulate her on her victory and commended the Brazilian people for “their faith and commitment to democracy.”
President Obama also underscored the excellent working relationship between the US and Brazil, and said he was looking forward to meeting president elect Rousseff soon “and working closely on areas such as clean energy, global growth, reconstruction assistance for Haiti, collaborative development efforts, and other issues of global importance.”
Ms Rousseff has vowed to continue the policies of President Lula da Silva, the most popular Brazilian president in the last fifty years, although she faces challenges from a fragile global economy, rising inflation and infrastructure unable to keep up Brazil’s sustained growth of over 7%.
President Lula has helped Brazil play a growing role in world affairs and is strongly lobbying for the South American giant to become a permanent member of an expanded UN Security Council.
An idea of the Brazilian president influence was revealed by cables from WikiLeaks website which stated that Lula called on his Venezuelan peer Hugo Chavez to soften his anti US rhetoric.
Verbal attacks against the US by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez caused “discomfort” to Lula, according to a diplomatic cable sent to Washington in 2005 by the US Ambassador in Brazil.
In the diplomatic cable, whose contents were published by the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, US ambassador John Danilovich reported contacts he had with the Brazilian presidential chief of staff José Dirceu, who presumably was entrusted by Lula with the task of sending a message to the Venezuelan president.
According to Danilovich, Dirceu would urge Chávez to “stand down from his provocative rhetoric and focus on his country’s internal problems.” He would also say that Chavez’s provocations against the US “do not serve Venezuela’s national interests and are a matter of concern to Brazil and neighbors.”
Based on statements attributed to José Dirceu, the then US general consul Patrick Duddy, said that president Lula left the Venezuelan capital before the end of a summit held in 2004 because he was “uncomfortable” with the position taken by the Venezuelan president, and then he had not returned any of Chavez’s phone calls. However, he did not report for how long.