Archive for the 'Abroad: Brazil 2011' Category


‘city of god’

AP: ….In this nation of 190 million where half the population is black, Obama’s election is an inspiration for many, said Ana Luiza Paradiso, a 40-year-old housewife.

“He opened a path for us,” Paradiso said. “The fact that he is black lets other people dream. We have a real connection, real empathy for Obama.”

…City of God gained worldwide notoriety after the 2002 film, which told of the slum’s transformation over five decades from a government-planned housing project for the poor to a violent haven for cocaine gangs. The same story has been repeated in hundreds of Rio slums.

In 2009, however, City of God became part of an ambitious police “pacification” program, in which security forces clear heavily armed gangs from slums and establish a police presence….

Noemia Marinho, a 40-year-old saleswoman who lives in the slum and got her hair done just for the presidential visit, said she hopes Obama’s presence inspires Brazil to pay more attention to her neighborhood.

“He is thinking of Rio as more than just the Christ and Copacabana,” Marinho said, referring to the city’s iconic hilltop statue and world-famous beach. “Maybe our government will look to us more as well.”


when they think “brazil,” they think “carnival”

Steve Benen: ….The good news is, the right has stopped obsessing over President Obama picking his favorites in the NCAA tournament. The bad news is, conservatives have moved onto something nearly as silly … President Obama landed in Brazil Saturday to learn about its booming economy, but conservatives called the trip a distraction from worldwide turmoil.

….This may be hard for conservatives to understand – when they think “Brazil,” they think “Carnival” – but Latin America has many quickly growing economies, and Obama is visiting the region to promote trade and open markets. The point is to take steps that will strengthen the U.S. economy, which the right should at least pretend to care about.

What’s more, the visit was scheduled months ago. It’s not as if the president woke up Friday morning and thought, “Fire up Air Force One; I’m in the mood to see Rio.”

I can appreciate why the timing of the trip may seem inconvenient, but the logistics of presidential travel abroad are laborious, and canceling would have proven problematic. Besides, there’s always weighty issues on a president’s to-do list, and if the White House had pushed off the Latin American visits until later in the year, there’d very likely be important developments going on then, too.

What we’re seeing from the right, then, is criticism for the sake of criticism. The discourse has reached the point at which Republicans and their media figures have to be whining about something at all times. Obama is stopping in Chile, Brazil, and El Salvador as part of a broader economic agenda, so the right feels the need to pretend to be outraged.

It’s quite sad.

Full article here


“you’re the man”

BBC: US President Barack Obama is set to deliver a speech in Rio de Janeiro, hailing the shared values of Brazil and the US. Mr Obama, on a five-day trip to Latin America, is also due to visit the city’s Christ statue and a shantytown.

…The president is due to visit the famed Christ the Redeemer hilltop statue. However, the visit was rescheduled from morning to evening. This was to allow Mr Obama time to be briefed on the situation in Libya, where US, UK and French aircraft have been carrying out strikes against the forces of Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi.

Mr Obama’s itinerary in Rio is also due to take him to the City of God (Cidade de Deus) favela, one of several hundred shantytowns that dot Rio’s hills. The shantytown is one of several “pacified” under a programme to reduce violence in the city, which is set to be in the international limelight with the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games two years later. The programme involves the deployment of a permanent police presence, known as the Police Pacification Units (UPP), that aim to drive out the drug traffickers who control the slums.

…Crowds gathered in Copacabana to greet Mr Obama as his motorcade arrived at his beach front hotel on Saturday night.

“Welcome to the most beautiful city in the world, Obama. You’re the man,” read a sign held up by Rio resident Carlos Henrique do Nascimento.

More here

Members of a local theatre group hold banners to celebrate the visit of U.S President Barack Obama in Cidade de Deus (City of God) in Rio de Janeiro March 20

Boys gather in Cidade de Deus (City of God) slum streets where U.S President Barack Obama is expected to visit


meet the family

President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Sasha and Malia meet Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff at Palacio do Alvorada, March 19


down to business

President Obama speaks as Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff looks on during a meeting with business people at Itamaraty Palace, Brasilia

President Obama steps on stage to deliver remarks at a US-Brazil CEO summit at Tryp Convention 21 Center in Brasilia

Text of the President’s speech here


special guests

I hope your Portguese is better than mine 😕

WFP: First lady Michelle Obama met with about 50 Brazilian youth ambassadors, took in a martial arts-dance presentation and was wowed by a group of female samba drummers during the first day of her and President Barack Obama’s five-day tour of Latin America.

Waving and smiling as she entered an open-air space in a restaurant shaded by palm tress, Michelle Obama electrified the crowd of youngsters, many of whom have taken part in a State Department program that sends them to the U.S. for cultural exchanges.

“Bom dia! Is that it? That’s all I have, unfortunately,” Obama said as she greeted the group with the Portuguese phrase for “good morning,” drawing applause and laughter as she confessed her poor knowledge of the language.

Obama, accompanied by daughters Sasha and Malia, and her mother Marian Robinson, then drilled home a message she has repeated to youngsters around the world: Education and trying to understand other cultures is one of the best cures for some of the globe’s ills.

…Icaro Soares Alves, 19, from the jungle city of Manaus, met Michelle Obama last year in Washington when he took part in the exchange program.

“This is one of the most important moments of my life, to meet her again,” he said. “She breaks all the stereotypes that American people are cold. With her smile and embrace she is so welcoming. I think she must have a little Brazilian in her.”

More here

First lady Michelle Obama with youths at Oca da Tribo restaurant in Brasilia. Michelle Obama, her two daughters Sasha and Malia, her mother Marian Robinson, the girls’ godmother, Eleanor Kaye Wilson, and Guisela Shannon, wife of U.S. Ambassador Thomas Shannon attended cultural performances with young Brazilians, many from disadvantaged backgrounds who have participated in a range of U.S. sponsored exchange and leadership development programs.


news conference

President Obama arrives for his news conference with Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff at the Palacio do Planalto


at the palace

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff receives U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle at Planalto Palace, Brasilia, March 19



President Barack Obama with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha during their airport arrival at Brasilia Air Base, Brazil, Saturday, March 19


brazil bound

President Barack Obama with first lady Michelle Obama waves before their departure from Andrews Air Force Base, March 18. The President is traveling to Latin America and will be visiting Brazil, Chile and El Salvador.







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