President Barack Obama and his Brazilian peer Rousseff met at a moment when the two presidents are on very different trajectories. Fresh from important victories at the US Supreme Court on healthcare and gay marriage, Obama proved a magnanimous host, describing Brazil as an “indispensable partner”. Rousseff whose approval levels are currently of around 10%, was grateful for a momentary distraction from her domestic woes. Accompanied by a phalanx of high-profile members of her cabinet, including Joaquim Levy, the finance minister, as well as the ministers for foreign trade and industry, education, planning and science, technology and innovation, Rousseff also used the visit to court US investors for her ambitious infrastructure programme.

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