Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

A welcome as warm as the weather

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 21, 2011

by The Economist – Americas View, March 21st, 2011.

As soon as Carnival was over, Rio de Janeiro started to look forward to its next big spectacle: a visit on March 20th by Barack Obama. The previous day, spent in Brasília with the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, had been billed as about trade—the United States is exporting more and more to Brazil, and hopes that demand in booming economies like Brazil’s will help it out of recession. But Rio was to be about fun, and about connecting with the Brazilian people rather than just with politicians.

In the event, Mr Obama put on a good show—but only for the television cameras. A late change to his agenda, made at the behest of his security detail, nixed a planned address to crowds from a balcony of the Municipal Theatre in Cinelândia, a large square in Rio’s historic centre. Instead, the speech was delivered inside the theatre to an audience of around 2,000, and televised live with simultaneous translation.

Still, it went down well, both in the theatre and in the comments pages of the papers the next day. A few words of Portuguese and praise for Brazil’s “endless miles of sand and ocean” both drew applause, and there was laughter when Mr Obama reminded his audience that it was his hometown of Chicago that lost out to Rio in the battle to stage the Olympics in 2016. “But if the games could not be held in Chicago,” he continued, “then there’s no place I’d rather see them than right here in Rio.” Cue more applause. (continue reading… )



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