Brazil’s transition from military rule into a thriving democracy can serve as an example for other countries including in the Middle East according to U.S. President Barack Obama.
In the speech given in Rio de Janeiro’s Municipal Theatre, Obama emphasized that Brazil is “a country that shows democracy delivers both freedom and opportunity to its people.” “As two nations who have struggled over many generations to perfect our own democracies, the United States and Brazil know that the future of the Arab world will be determined by its people,” Obama said to the crowd of roughly 2000 people.
In part of his speech (which can be seen below) Obama explained the example of Brazilian democracy for the world:
Though Obama neglected to back Brazil’s bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, he touched on the importance of close relations between the U.S. and the growing global power. “Let us stand together…not as senior and junior partners, but as equal partners,” said Obama.
Earlier on Sunday Obama visited the Ciudade de Dios (City of God) favela where he watched children perform capoeira moves and also kicked a soccer ball around with some kids. Despite the welcoming crowds in that slum and during his speech, an estimated 200 people protested near the Municipal Theatre protested against U.S. foreign policy.
Today’s speech was supposed to take place in Rio’s Cinelandia plaza but was changed abruptly days before Obama arrived in Brazil. The U.S. Embassy did not explain why the venue was switched, though Cinelandia was the site where a key 1984 protest took place against the ruling dictatorship. Obama seemed to have acknowledged this in his speech when he discussed Brazil’s shift to democracy.
Tonight he is expected to tour Rio’s famed Christ the Redeemer statue before moving on to Chile on Monday. He will be there until Wednesday when he travels to El Salvador, the last country on his visit to Latin America.
Video Source – AP via YouTube
Online Sources- BBC News, MSNBC, Folha.com, USA TODAY, Los Angeles Times, The Latin Americanist, Bloomberg, Reuters