The World: Samba Over the Waters

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When the U.S. and Brazil began their latest round of talks on American fishing rights in Brazilian coastal waters three months ago, Brazil's Minister Ronaldo Costa hummed a few bars of a popular samba for U.S. Ambassador Donald McKernan:

Take your boat off my sea

Go throw your net over there

Fisherman with green eyes

Go fish somewhere else

This sea is mine!

"Is that the tune we're going to hear?" asked McKernan. It was indeed. Last week, when the two nations announced a territorial waters agreement, it was clear that Brazil had sambaed away with the talks.

Under the terms of the pact, the U.S. maintains in principle that it does not recognize Brazil's claim to 200-mile offshore sovereignty, but in fact it did just that. Up to 160 American-owned vessels at a time will be allowed to fish the rich shrimp waters along Brazil's coast. The U.S. accepted Brazil's right to board, search and seize shrimp boats that have committed infractions. Furthermore the U.S. will pay the Brazilian government $200,000 to help defray the costs of surveillance.