The Brazilian Challenge: How to Manage Asymmetrical Regional Relations Beyond the OAS

May 12, 2012

Paulo Sotero, April 2012

ABSTRACT - Viewed by the Lula administration as a relic of the Cold War, the OAS was mostly viewed as an observation post. Diplomats were instructed to maintain a defensive stance and to prevent actions perceived as contrary to Brazilian interests. Indifference turned to ill-disguised anger, however, in the first months of the Dilma Rousseff administration, after the Inter-American Human rights Commission (IHRC) issued an injunction instructing Brazil to cease construction of the controversial Belo Monte Hydroelectric Power Plant. Brazil’s reaction included the recalling of its ambassador to the OAS. This has compounded the OAS’s existential problems by making the organization’s financial position even more precarious. If it goes unresolved, however, the clash could complicate Brazil’s strategy to assert its regional and global leadership as a champion of human rights and multilateralism.

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