US Secretary of State John Kerry is spending the dog days of summer on a Latin American tour. According to published reports , Kerry’s agenda has been to try and smooth the diplomatic feathers ruffled by Edward Snowden’s “revelations” about electronic espionage. Personally, I am shocked! Right!
I am not sure how tall Kerry is but Antonio Patriota, Brazil’s foreign minister sure looked short in the pictures I saw. This is totally irrelevant as is, in my opinion the nationalistic pride and posturing taking place around the “Spygate” incident. Brazil and Dilma might be more concerned about going back to the historical archives on how the US covertly and overtly supported the coup and the military regimes after 1964.
I would like to believe that Kerry’s trip has a more practical purpose. I am wondering about any proposals to increase trade and investment and if Brazilians are really interested in listening. Brazil is in a tight skirt (saia justa) and needs to strengthen its industrial base, figure out how to keep agricultural and mineral exports going in the face of falling demand, control inflation, increase its savings rate and attract more foreign investment in spite of all the bureaucracy and deficient infra-structure.
Perhaps Kerry will meet with Carlos Alberto Sicupira and his partners at 3G Capital and they can figure out to get Brazil running like Burger King, Heinz and Budweiser. Sicupira, along with his billionaire partners Jorge Paulo Lemann and Marcel Telles, own Anheuser-Busch, the world’s largest beer company. Their firm, 3G Capital, partnered with Warren Buffett to buy Heinz in February 2013.
Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz, is a Portuguese–American businesswoman whose late husband, Henry John Heinz III, was heir to the Heinz company before Buffet and 3G Capital bought it for $23 billion.
The United States does not necessarily have to recapture its 100-year role as Brazil’s largest business and trade partner. But both sides need to focus more on the nuts and bolts of business rather than on unproductive spying and the blame game.