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The Washington Dissensus
A Privileged Observer's Perspective on US-Brazil Relations

Author(s): Rubens Barbosa

During the five years that he represented Brazil in the United States (under both the Cardoso and Lula presidencies), Ambassador Barbosa witnessed presidential elections that brought opposition parties to power in both the United States and Brazil, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the outbreak of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the election of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In this memoir, translated from the Portuguese, Barbosa recounts the most significant regional and global issues that arose, alongside the domestic political conflicts within a divided North American society. Barbosa provides sophisticated analysis of economic relations during these changing times, and also explores the many US misconceptions about Brazil and the Latin American region.

From the privileged post of observation that an ambassadorship in the American capital represents, Barbosa had the exceptional opportunity over a considerable length of time to closely follow relations between Brazil and the United States. He witnessed relations evolve under two governments as they developed distinct foreign policies, which at times led to a breakdown in understanding between the two countries.

Biography of Author(s)

Rubens Barbosa served as Brazil's Ambassador to the United States in Washington from 1999 to 2004 and as Ambassador to the Court of St James's in London before then. He has held a number of senior positions in Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Relations and Ministry of Finance. Barbosa has a master's degree from the London School of Economics.


  • "The Washington Dissensus offers an insider's look at the challenges facing Brazilian diplomacy in the United States as Brazil began its rise as an emerging power yet largely unknown to most of the US Congress, press, and general population. It is a rare personal account by a senior Brazilian foreign affairs practitioner and one of the best informed observers of US politics."
    --Joseph Marques, Brazil Institute, King's College London