Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Rousseff Tweaks Brazil’s Foreign Policy at the UN

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 29, 2011

by Roque Planas for Americas Society – Council of the Americas, March 29th, 2011.

Two recent UN votes indicate President Dilma Rousseff’s foreign policy may differ from that of her predecessor, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva. Lula generally opposed sanctions, avoided criticizing authoritarian governments’ human rights violations, and famously attempted to broker a deal (along with Turkey) to allow Iran to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. The Rousseff administration, on the other hand, voted Thursday for a resolution to send a special human rights investigator to Iran. Last month, Brazil voted to sanction Libyan head of state Moamar Gadaffi. But while those votes mark a departure from Lula’s foreign policy at the UN, Rousseff’s abstention from the Libya no-fly zone resolution indicate that she will not entirely abandon Lula’s policy of nonintervention.

Rousseff anticipated last week’s Iran vote in an interview with The Washington Postbefore her inauguration. After criticizing what she referred to as the failure of a “war policy” toward the Middle East led by the United States, Rousseff broached the theme of human rights in Iran that Lula avoided. “I would feel uncomfortable as a woman president-elect not to say anything against the stoning,” Rousseff said, referring to the pending sentence for Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was convicted of adultery and murder in May 2006. “My position will not change when I take office. I do not agree with the way Brazil voted. It’s not my position.” Brazil’s envoy to the UN, Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo, expressed her country’s support of the resolution in similar terms. “This is not a vote against Iran. It’s a vote in favor of the strengthening of the system of human rights,” she said.

Rousseff’s departure from Lula’s position on Iran sparked some criticism. When asked if he would support the resolution to send a special human rights investigator to Iran, former foreign minister Celso Amorim told A Folha de São Paulo that he probably would not, explaining that for such a policy to be coherent “we would have to send a special investigator to Iran, another to Guantanamo, another to look at the situation of immigrants in Europe.” Amorim, who served in the Lula administration and helped negotiate the failed nuclear agreement with Tehran, added, “If you get involved in the politics of condemnation, you can forget dialogue.”  (continue reading… )

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