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Problems with Brazil visas?

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I'm not planning a trip of my own, but I was looking at the website for the Brazilian consulate in Chicago. There's a notice there saying that it is not issuing any visas of any type, tourist or otherwise. Other consulate websites have the same notice, or say that "due to technical difficulties" they have to cut way back on the number of visas they can issue. (The Los Angeles consulate has that notice.)

Some of the reading I've done suggests that it is a technical problem. Others suggest that there is a political dispute going on between Brazil and the U.S. and that this is Brazil's response.

Like I say, no trip of my own coming up. Just wondering if anybody is having problems.

The notice on the Chicago website:

Due to severe technical difficulties that affect the Brazilian Consular Service throughout the world, the Consulate General of Brazil in Chicago will suspend the issuing of the following documents, starting today, October 29th, 2012:

All types of visas;
Legalization of documents;
All documents requested by mail.