U.S. President Barack Obama in Brazil's Ciudad de Deus (City of God) favela. Photo by Pete Souza
Brazil, Latin America: Week in Review, United States

Obama Kicks Off Latin America Visit In Brazil As Attacks Against Libya Begin

March 21, 2011 By Staff

Today in Latin America

U.S. President Barack Obama in Brazil's Ciudad de Deus (City of God) favela. Photo by Pete Souza

Top Story — President Barack Obama arrived in Brazil Saturday to kick off a five-day, three-country visit to Latin America.

Obama hopes to increase economic ties between Brazil and the United States, as part of his effort to create more jobs. China displaced the United States as Brazil’s number one trading partner in 2009.

Business and political leaders, including Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, met with Obama in Brasilia on Saturday. On Sunday, Obama visited City of God, the Rio de Janeiro slum made famous by the 2002 film.

In the afternoon, Obama celebrated the similarities between Brazilian and U.S. democracies in a speech directed toward the Brazilian public and delivered at Rio’s Theatro Municipal. Obama offered Brazil as a model that countries in the Middle East should emulate. “Those who argue that democracy stands in the way of economic progress, they must contend with the example of Brazil,” Obama said.

The organizers originally planned for Obama to deliver the speech outside in the city’s Cinelândia neighborhood to an audience of 10,000, but the Secret Service recommended moving it indoors, citing security concerns.

The White House planned for the trip to Brazil to focus on trade, but U.S. military action against Libya also loomed large. Obama gave the order for the U.S. military to attack the North African country from Brazil.

Obama will meet with Chilean President Sebastián Piñera in Santiago today. In anticipation of Obama’s visit, several hundred people protested a U.S.-Chilean nuclear energy agreement and demanded that the U.S. president apologize for his country’s involvement in the 1973 coup that ousted left-wing President Salvador Allende and installed the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

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Image: Pete Souza @ whitehouse.gov.

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