President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are scheduled to arrive Saturday in Brazil on Saturday, on the president's first trip to South and Central America that will also take him to Chile and El Salvador. Obama will recognize the consolidation of democracies in the region, and reassure Latin America that the U.S. intends to step up its economic engagement.
The president has described the trip as an effort to forge "new alliances" across the Americas, and White House officials say agreements can be expected at each stop in areas such as energy, economic growth and security.
The Obamas first stop is Brazil, the world's 7th largest economy with a growing middle class, but which like other countries in the region continues to grapple with legacies of social injustice and poverty.
A a news conference last month with Brazil's foreign minister, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the two countries are cooperating closely on food security, human rights, clean energy, global inequality and other issues.
"Brazil and the United States seek to promote open and accountable government, civil rights, a vibrant civil society, and social inclusion."
Louis Goodman, Dean of the School of International Service at The American University in Washington, D.C., said Obama should be effective in the messages he delivers, particularly as the first African-American U.S. president and a symbol of America's acceptance of diversity.
"People want to feel that the U.S. stands for diversity. They could not always be sure of that. Some of our foreign policy moves in the past suggested that we wanted things in a cookie-cutter image. And the fact that we have an African-American president who has a foreign policy style that lets other countries have their own processes is very, very well received."
Obama meets with President Dilma Rousseff, Brazil's first woman head of state, and delivers a speech to the people of Brazil from Rio de Janeiro. Brazil will host the Olympic Games there in 2016, and the World Cup in 2014.
Discussions with Rousseff, and meetings with Brazilian and American business executives, will focus on investment opportunities in areas such as as renewable energy, science and technology, education and innovation. These are all priorities for Obama's job-creation agenda back home.
White House officials say Obama also likely will raise Brazil's discovery several years ago of major offshore oil and natural gas deposits, something he mentioned in a recent news conference about rising energy prices.
"When it comes to imported oil, we are strengthening our key energy relationships with other producer nations, something that I will discuss with President Rousseff when I visit Brazil."
Other likely topics are political upheaval in the Middle East, and Brazil's desire to become a permanent member of an expanded U.N. Security Council.
At a recent panel discussion in Washington, Brazil's ambassador Mauro Vieira, said Brazil and the U.S. have their differences but this is Obama's opportunity to reach out to Brazil and the entire region.
2011-03-22 11:46 编辑：icetonado
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