MEXICO CITY, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Relations between the United States and Latin American countries suffered a heavy blow in 2013 following revelations of a U.S. spying scandal.
Secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former contractor of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), indicated that Washington particularly spied on South America's economic powerhouse Brazil, as well as on its own North American neighbor Mexico and oil-rich Venezuela.
ESPIONAGE IN LATIN AMERICA
The strongest condemnation of U.S. espionage so far has come from Brazil, whose President Dilma Rousseff was personally targeted by the spy agency.
The incident prompted Rousseff to cancel an official visit to Washington in October. At an annual meeting of the UN General Assembly, she also urged the international community to adopt norms to protect online privacy.
Meanwhile, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose emails were reportedly intercepted by the NSA when he was still a candidate, has been reluctant to denounce the United States, his country's main trade partner, with which it shares a 2,000-mile (3,218-km) border.
Pressured by his political opposition, Nieto eventually asked Washington for an "explanation," but has not pursued the matter.
Venezuela, a staunch U.S. opponent, seemed unsurprised by Snowden's revelations, with Interior and Justice Minister Miguel Rodriguez saying his country's vast oil reserves and other natural resources made it a natural target of U.S. interests.
"We have enormous (natural) wealth and any country or empire that unquestionably sees its oil reserves dwindling and its energy-producing capacities gradually decreasing is going to see Venezuela, undoubtedly, as a tempting place to control," Rodriguez said last month at a meeting of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) trade bloc.