Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

In Rio, Obama Describes Brazil as Democratic Model

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on March 22, 2011

by Carin Zissis for Americas Society / Council of the Americas, March 20th, 2011.

n a speech delivered before a Rio de Janeiro audience, President Barack Obama highlighted Brazil as a country that grew from a dictatorship to a “flourishing democracy.” Although a second day of allied strikes against Libya threatened to overshadow Obama’s first South American trip, the president pointed to unrest in the Middle East and North Africa as a step in the process toward creating open societies, just as Brazil has already experienced. He pointed out that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is a former guerilla who fought her country’s dictatorship in the 1960s. “That is the example of Brazil,” said Obama. “Brazil—a country that shows how a call for change that starts in the streets can transform a city, transform a country, transform a world.”

Obama, who pledged to return to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, congratulated the South American country as “an equal partner” with a common history of African heritage. He added that Brazil, often painted as “a country of the future,” is now a place where “the future has arrived.” Just as he called Brazil a model for the Arab world, he also described it as a partner in supporting efforts “to combat the hunger, disease, and corruption” in Africa and Haiti. He alluded to a series of energy, trade, environmental, and educational-exchange agreements reached during his meetings with Rousseff the day before.

The president’s Rio stop has seen schedule and site changes. Originally slated to take place in the plaza of Cinelandia, Obama’s remarks were instead delivered nearby inside the Municipal Theater. His visit included a stop in the “City of God” favela and a trip to the statue of Christ the Redeemer with the First Lady and their daughters. The First Family heads on to Santiago the morning of March 21 for the third stop in a five-day tour that’s taking them to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador. (continue reading… )

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