US President Barrak Obama would like to be on vacation in Brazil, but sadly, a president has to attend to presidential matters. And so being, Obama arrives in Brazil today to a Brazil very different from the one former US presidents Roosevelt and Bush Jr visited. Brazil today is a country full of confidence, a booming economy, and increased global influence. America’s charismatic and popular president will be on the lookout for potencial partnerships to help in America’s recovery from the economic crisis of 2008. He will surely get a warm reception from Dilma Roussef, Brazil’s current President and the country’s first woman head of state.
Now, it won’t all be business. On Sunday, Obama will go to Rio de Janeiro, perhaps the most picturesque city in the world, where he and his family will take in some of the sites. On the agenda is Corcovado, the famous Cristo Redentor statue on the top of the mountain, and the favela, or slum, Cidade de Deus, or City of God (it seems the State Department hasn’t confirmed this but Brazil’s government has made it public). Also on the agenda is a speech at the newly restored Teatro Municipal (Municipal Theater), a marvellous example of early 1800s Imperial Portuguese architecture with French influence. This speech will be for invites only, and because this change was made yesterday press accreditation for this Rio Mate blogger will be a little tough. Hmpf. Originally he had been billed to give a public speech in the downtown’s Cinelandia square, but this was abruptly cancelled on Friday and no reason was given. It may be because the event was already being billed as a huge party by the city’s residents. They were planning on having blocos (Carnival bands) play there and be dancing till morning!
The official facebook event for the Sunday is called “Obamafolia” or rather, in Americaneese, Obama Gras (play on Mardi Gras get it?). The event has 3338 attendees. The wall for the page is full of funny posts of disappointment. One user said that they want a refund, and many others are complaining that the Americans were afraid of the security measures needed and people drinking and kissing in the streets. Indeed many taxi drivers were complaining yesterday about all the road closures and that even the pigeons of Cinelandia square were banned from the area.
One thing for sure is that the Cariocas (Rio residents) will most certainly be offering the US President a glass of cold Mate for his enjoyment. After all, it is a typically Carioca thing to drink Mate. Too bad Obama can’t stay any longer in Rio. We are willing to bet, that after the President has finished with his official state duties sometime in the future, he will return to Brazil with more time to enjoy the good life of Rio de Janeiro.