BRAZIL. The current hot topic in foreign policy is espionage, especially for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, whose latest proposed policies have been to defend against a supposed cybernetic war. Last month, after discovering she was a target of American espionage, the President used her speech at the United Nations to condemn the actions of the United States and the National Security Agency (NSA).Moreover, last week, she again criticized the Canadian espionage on the Ministry of Mines and Energy through numerous tweets – a mere 140 characters weren’t nearly enough.

When President Rousseff spoke about how the United States appeared to be meddling in Brazil’s affairs, she presented Brazil as a target of international espionage. However, by the time she claimed that Brazilian privacy had been violated, -a far more domestic issue,- no international attention was given to her declarations.

During the U.N. General Assembly, US President Obama seemed to be concerned mostly about Syria’s chemical weapons and the Middle East. Although Brazil is hardly irrelevant to the US, -after all, the South American country was targeted by the North American spy program,- so little attention was paid to President Rousseff’s claims because espionage is not new, and hasn’t been for a long time.

However, this might change in the coming months. Glenn Greenwald, a critical player in the Edward Snowden leaks, claimed at the Global Investigative Journalism Conference in Rio de Janeiro that, the worst is yet to come”, promising that more stories will be published.

Demonstrations in the streets of Brazil

Demonstrations in the streets of Brazil

It is naïve to believe today that people are fully protected when in front of their computers, that no one hears or is documenting international phone calls, and that secret documents are really kept secret. Especially in times of globalization, information becomes more and more fluid. Even the agents of the Brazilian Revenue Service, under the current government, have flown over houses in search of disparities between declared taxes by their owners. This Tuesday, Jon “Maddog” Hall, the executive director of Linux International, wrote a direct letter to the Brazilian President, saying that he had told her, in his many lectures, about the vulnerability of the software system in Brazil.

If all of this is true, why then is Dilma Rousseff so clearly demanding an explanation as to why Brazilian privacy was invaded, even as Obama has shown he is not giving it?

The Brazilian President, like the rest of the world, is focused on Brazil. But unlike the rest of the world, she is more interested in the elections next year. For this reason, she has worked to make it clear to her country that she has confidence in her ability to defend national sovereignty and to tackle the problems Obama has created. She even cancelled her diplomatic trip to Washington D.C.

Such behavior has increased her popularity among citizens, despite the on-going popular protests and the center-right parties’ efforts to overthrow her party, the Partido dos Trabalhadores (the Worker’s Party), at the next poll. Rather than attempting to pressure Obama for an explanation, her speech in the UN General Assembly and her cancelled trip were to secure her position back home.

In fact, she is looking to see that the US President understands that Brazil has placed such an emphasis on the incident for domestic reasons, so as not to affect the historically good relationship between the two countries. Rousseff has called Obama out on his actions so that she could appear confident and in control to the Brazilian people. However, she wanted to accomplish this without damaging US-Brazil relations. At the end of the day, it is all about domestic politics, – and winning elections.