Thursday, January 1, 2015
Brazil’s ambassador to the United States was named foreign minister on Wednesday, in a move seen as aimed at bolstering the South American giant’s strained ties with the superpower to the north. Mauro Luiz Lecker Vieira was among 14 ministerial appointments unveiled in a statement from the office of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who is to be sworn in for a second term in a ceremony on New Year’s Day. Vieira had served as Brazil’s ambassador to Washington, D.C. since 2010, and his appointment is seen as a sign of Rousseff’s eagerness to move beyond a recent chill in relations between the two nations. While trade, education and cultural ties between Brazil and the U.S. have continued, in 2013 a pall was cast over diplomatic relations after media reports that the National Security Agency had aggressively targeted Brazil in its spying programs — even tracking Rousseff’s conversations and emails with her top aides.