What Brazil Wants from Obama: End to Farm Subsidies and to Cuba’s Embargo

US president elect Barack Obama Barack Obama's victory in the United States presidential election represents most of all the recognition of what democracy means, according to Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. For him, whoever doubted that a black could be elected president of the United States now knows that it can.

"It can only because this is happening in a democratic regime, which allows society to express itself."

The Brazilian leader called Obama's election, the first black in the US history to become president, "an extraordinary achievement." He stressed that the president elect is  "a person who has demonstrated political skill."

Lula said he hopes that Obama will have a stronger connection with Latin America and Africa and in special with South America and Brazil. "I hope that Obama has a policy more geared to the productive development in Latin America,"  Lula told journalists in Brasí­lia this Wednesday, November 5, 2008, after a ceremony to celebrate the 20 years of the Brazilian latest Constitution.

And the continued "I have no doubt  that on the part of Brazil we are going to continue building this productive partnership that we have with the USA. And I hope that it can improve with the Obama administration."

Lula asked for an end to the subsidies that Washington gives to American producers -  a core issue in the negotiations on global trade – as well as an end to the US embargo to Cuba, imposed to the island in the 60s. " There is no explanation in the history of mankind for the blockade to Cuba," argued Lula.

The Brazilian president also talked about the Israelis and their Arab neighbors: "I hope he is able to finally reach a peace agreement in the Middle East, because for decades this has been tried and it hasn't succeeded".

Later in the day, Lula came back to the US election subject and commented: "We, Brazilians, are after Nigeria the second largest black nation in the world and we need to be optimistic, hopeful and have much pride, because it is not small potatoes to elect a black president of the United States. As Brazilians we are happy with the election. And we will be even happier if the US relations get better with our subcontinent."

The president of Brazil's Supreme Court, Gilmar Mendes, called Obama's victory "a special moment." But he warned, however, that "campaign is something and management, administration is something else." "It is fundamental that there are definitions, especially at this time in the world economy", added Mendes.

The speaker of the House, Arlindo Chinaglia, said that, while expected, the victory of Barack Obama is surprising for its historical dimension, for the life trajectory of the president elect. "Leaders who fought for political rights in the US and that are still alive fulfilled a dream".

Chinaglia said he is hopeful that the new president will take measures to change the US relations with Latin America and especially with the Middle East. The House leader stated that the challenge is big since Obama is taking over during an international financial crisis.

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