Brazil’s Message to Obama: It Wishes to Be Treated as an Equal

Obama in Brazil Antonio Patriota, Brazil’s Foreign minister, says that the visit by the American president Barack Obama represents a significant reset in bilateral relations. What Brazil wants, declared the minister, is to be treated as an equal, in a more seamless relationship without confrontations.

“The world is ready for this kind of relationship. Brazil is a solid democracy,” said Patriota, adding that the country, in line with the need to protect the planet and use clean energy, gets 45% of its energy from renewable sources.

He also pointed out that the government is actively engaged in various global issues that have resulted in relations with other countries in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East.

“We are engaged with our neighbors and the developing world. There are multiple opportunities for cooperation with the modern Brazil. We seek multi-polar cooperation, not rivalries or conflict,” said the minister.

Patriota declared that there are hopes that Obama will declare support for a reform of the United Nations Security Council and a permanent seat for Brazil. Even so, he admitted that there were other obstacles, including some countries that were opposed to any reform of the council.

A favorable declaration by the US will not make a dramatic difference in the situation, the minister said, as he observed that real reform will require intense negotiations at the UN and a favorable vote by two-thirds of the members of the Security Council (or, as there are fifteen members, the votes of ten nations). However, Patriota emphasized, American support would be significant.

Patriota put the Obama visit in historical perspective pointing out that he was the ninth US president to visit Brazil, but that this moment was certainly the most propitious for Brazil.

“We are in a good phase. Solid economic conditions, a stable political scene and with our international standing high. We are active diplomatically with a truly global reach nowadays,” said the minister.

Cidade de Deus and Christ the Redeemer

White House spokesman, Jan Carney, confirmed that president Barack Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters, Malia and Sasha, will visit the Christ the Redeemer (“Cristo Redentor”) statue in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday morning, March 20.

“It is a familiar image that everyone knows and remembers when they think of the city of Rio. It is just one of those must-sees,” said Carney.

The Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio is recognized as the second biggest Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in the world as it stands over 39 meters high (in 2010, a 190-meter high statue was inaugurated in Poland).

The Rio statue, made of concrete and sandstone, was built over a nine-year period and inaugurated in 1931. In 2007, it was voted one of the seven wonders of the modern world. The Brazilian government recognizes it as a national heritage site.

Later in the morning the Obama family will go to Cidade de Deus, one of Rio’s many hillside slums, which up until two years ago was ruled over by drug lords. However, the local government began a program of literally taking back the slums – initially by force with an invasion of armed police, followed by a permanent stationing of police and government officials in the area (the program is known as UPP – Police Pacification Units).

Cidade de Deus, in Jacarepaguá (“Zona Oeste”) is where a film, “City of God” (“Cidade de Deus”), was made that was nominated for four Oscars in 2003. The US president will be welcomed by the band of a local public high school “Pedro Aleixo,” with a mix of Brazilian and international music (which is being billed as everything from samba to hip hop).

In his autobiography Dreams From My Father, Obama mentions a 1959 film that his mother really liked (“Orfeu Negro”) that was filmed in another Rio slum and it was thought he wanted to go there.

It is reported that trip was not approved for security reasons – the slum is in a hilly area, with very narrow streets. Cidade de Deus is on a kind of plateau with wider streets. Security during the visit will be by US Secret Service and Brazilian Federal and State police.

Initial plans called for a public speech by Obama on Sunday in the center of Rio at a large plaza known as Cinelândia; the official name is Praça Floriano Peixoto, named after the man who lived from 1839 to 1895 and became the second president of Brazil in November 1891 (holding office until 1894). The outdoor speech, it was announced later, would be moved to a safer location indoors.

Peixoto became president after the first president, Deodoro Fonseca, resigned. Both Peixoto and Fonseca were army marshals who participated in the War of the Triple Alliance (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay) against Paraguay (1864-70) and led the rebellion that overthrew the monarchy and established a republic in Brazil (1889).

Cinelândia is in the center of the city, surrounded by important buildings, such as the National Library, the Municipal Theater and the Rio de Janeiro City Legislative Assembly (“Câmera dos Vereadores”). It is a kind of Brazilian Hyde Park – a traditional location for political demonstrations and speeches – and Times Square.

The large plaza was originally in front of a convent (“Convento da Ajuda”) built around 1750. At the beginning of the 20th century an urban modernization movement took place in Rio. The convent was demolished (in 1911) and a wide avenue was built (now Rio Branco) along with a series of skyscrapers that all had movie theaters on the ground floor, hence the name, Cinelândia. Of course, most of the cinemas have closed, but the area remains a vibrant and busy area.

In this speech, similar to other public speeches he gave in Berlin (2008) and Cairo (2009), Obama is expected to send a message not only to his listeners in Brazil, but to the world. He will certainly emphasize the fact that Brazil and the United States are large, diverse democracies with shared historical experiences and similar dreams for the future. He will hold the two countries up as positive examples of what democratic government, economic freedom and progressive social policy can achieve.

The speech was scheduled for Sunday afternoon (March 20). One possibility for the cancellation is the matter of security. The fact is that security in Cinelândia has always been an issue (it is a very large open area surrounded on almost all sides by skyscrapers).

Security concerns boiled up again after the United Nations Security Council voted to authorize military action in Libya. Consulate officials said that the speech would take place but in an undisclosed location indoors. The most probable location would be the Municipal Theater, which is located near Cinelândia.

Agreement on Patents

A pilot cooperation agreement on patents will be signed this weekend during Obama’s visit to Brazil. A “pilot” agreement has limitations: this one will last 12 months or 500 analyses, whichever comes first. Jorge Avila, the president of the Brazilian Institute of Industrial Property (“Instituto Nacional da Propriedade Industrial – Inpi”) explains that if the experiment is successful it will become permanent.

And that will allow Inpi to participate in the Patent Prosecution Highway (a kind of fast track) at the US Office of Patents and Trademarks. The advantage, says Avila, is that it will eliminate overlapping and duplicate work by patent offices in both countries.

“We will be creating an environment where patent registration will be more timely, benefiting Brazilians and Americans. Our patent offices, the Inpi and the USPTO, will be working together in examining patents,” said Avila, adding that there is a large backlog of American patents awaiting approval in Brazil, while, on the other hand, there are many Brazilians who would be happy to have their patents registered in the US.

Avila goes on to explain that both patent offices will remain independent, that is, a patent approved in the US will not be approved automatically in Brazil. 

“In practical terms, we will eliminate the need in one patent office to reexamine parts of patent applications that have been denied in the other patent office. That will reduce the workload in both offices by around 10% to 15%,” said Avila.

Patents take an average of 8.3 years to be approved in Brazil. The goal is to cut that time in half by 2015. But reducing the time is not the only objective, says Avila.

“We want to set up similar agreements with Japan and the European Union. Besides reducing the time frame, we will be ensuring a higher level of quality and reliability in our work.”

Last Minute Details

Final details on a series of agreements and memorandums that will be signed during the visit by Obama, on March 19 and 20, were still being worked out earlier this week. People close to the negotiations report that the last-minute rush is normal in such cases.

A Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, known as TECA, which will create an advanced legal framework for relations, is in an advanced stage. It will reduce trade and investment barriers. Sanitation rules on fruit and meats are being worked out, along with measures to simplify customs and other technical rules.

The agreement will also establish permanent communications channels for dispute resolution. Brazil is very interested in trade as its international commercial relations have undergone a huge transformation.

With the United States there has been an unusual reversal of fortune over the last five years: in 2006, Brazil had a trade surplus with the US of almost US$ 10 billion; last year it had a trade deficit of over US$ 7.7 billion.

At the same time, the Chinese have become the country’s biggest trade partner, importing soy, iron ore and petroleum, while it floods Brazil with manufactured goods. The Brazil-United States trade negotiations do not include changes in import tariffs and surtaxes at this time.

The two countries will also set up partnerships for the 2014 World Soccer Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games based on American experience.

Another agreement is on social security. It will permit Brazilians who work in the US and make social security payments to use those payments towards receiving benefits in Brazil if they decide to return to Brazil.

It is estimated there are between 500,000 and a million Brazilians who could take advantage of this agreement.  Obama’s day in Brasilia (Saturday, March 19), will be divided into four parts: in the morning at the Palácio do Planalto, lunch at Itamaraty (Foreign Ministry), an afternoon meeting with business leaders, and in the evening an intimate dinner with president Dilma Rousseff.



  • Show Comments (22)

  • be happy

    “Our foreign policy is we drop bombs to help people. That’s like seeing a guy having a heart attack in a restaurant and saying “I’ma go kick him in the balls.” ~ Chris Rock at Late Show with David Letterman 03/31/11

  • demonio do espaço

    right wing bastards
    what a joke americans saying about ilegal brazilians…HOW ABOUT YOUR ILEGAL(AND IMORAL) PRESENCE ON OUR RAINFLOREST, AND MILITARY PRESENCE ON WHERE YOU THINK YOU MAY “DEMOCRATIZE”, brasil(is writen like this you jerk) just say we can solve our problems without you to interfere, no that we satanize you all(for some it´s indeed truth).
    but obama realize what is happening, the world is changing and US is not the only “superpower” anymore, obama what allieds, a good portion o US too, we brazillians(most of us) want you all as friends, but respect comes only with equals, not with servants and lords.
    besides our doors are open, i do like to see what kind of reationship you will get with the russia, china and other US lover contries worldwide(with by the way are pretty close to us). you can buy are corrupt leaders but you can´t buy the whole contry, other contries already are closing by. obama is right treating us as friends and so we treat him as well, as for you right wing rednecks despite will be the only answer. as i say “i got ma hands wide open, but i can close my fist anytime”

  • be happy

    Q. what does the system teaches the africans?
    A. to fear the white men and turn them into slaves of the system. 🙁

  • Colin and Amanda Edwards

    leo boneville, all i can say is you havnt travelled. Did you know that Africa has a better education system. I suggest fly around the world objectivly out of the high rise concrete ugly jungle of sampa and then enter dialog with Mr Walker cos our eyes certainly werent blinkerd. Brasil moving forward? thousands lost in floods architecs? good old brasilians lets wait and see rather than plan.

  • Leo Boneville

    Show me a STATE that doesn’t cheat, deceive, discriminate.. I’ll show you GOD!
    The truth is Brazil is no different than any other country, USA, France, England, Japan, South Africa, Germany.. Who the F**k are you trying to kid? The world walks around like their country is so much better, safer and cleaner..

    At the end of the day, Brazil has made more strides than any other nation worldwide, prove different and we can have a real dialog about it, instead everyone loves to bash a nation trying to move forward instead of living in the past!

    F**k the European Union and anyone that claims that the US of (A)ssholes paradise, especially nowadays.. USA will soon be called, the United States of Hispanics.. F**king nationalist pr**ks…

  • be happy

    PLEASE PLEASE! — we don’t hate Brazilians anymore!

  • be happy

    Imagine the consequences, if the base of this pyramid move out of its structure?

  • MCV

    wont be done
    I’ realy sorry

  • MCV

    ” if “something or wherever you wanna call it” Will Not be done

  • MCV

    I’m Living in massachusetts Boston area and I got myself into what I use to see only in TV documentary….most of traffic intersection lights I got myself giving money to “beggars, one after another”, I can only tell you” if “something or wherever you wanna call it” be done we will became more like living times where poor, middle classes and riches will be more apart like any other country…so God Help America”

  • be happy

    They have paid off the IMF.
    Better times are coming. Just hope that outsiders don’t bother anymore.
    They have stealing our resources for centuries.

  • Colin and Amanda Edwards

    We are from Wales in the UK. Be happy please would you like to inform us as to what your government is spending your extreme taxes you pay on.Roads, railways, education, health none of this did we see hence the death toll on the roads, maternal and infant mortality. As the UK kept its sterling so we are not so effected by the Euro zones.

  • be happy

    “Brasilians are by nature two faced” If this is coming from an American is a joke!!! There’s nothing in this world of flip-flops anything like gringos. And going back to racism (there are plenty of information above), the recent immigration bill made from many different states showing racial profiling in ALL OF THEM!!!
    The world is changing and truth come out to surface as oil in water.
    USA and Europe is going bankrupt. They’re going out of natural resources. And guess where they’re going to beg? If there’s corruption in Brazil, it’s paid in American dollars.

  • be happy

    excuse me…
    racism is a global issue.
    Don’t tell me there’s no racism in USA or Europe, that’s not true.
    About poverty: the whole South America is the same, as much as Asia.
    And remember the times of colonization when Europeans took all gold and precious stones that basically built their wealth.

  • Colin and Amanda Edwards

    Following on from our above statement, as I said alot goes on in Brasil that the world doesnt hear about. Brazilian government wants us all to just enter dialogue with Lybia while its people are crying out as he kills them, Brasil dfoesnt believe in violence OMG they were killing people in Rio and Sao Paulo for many years there own people, all ready for Obamas visit but they will all come back now the police dont care and a few Reals given to them prob by the drug dealers will soon make them happy. You know the corruption in Brazil is disgusting and human rights pretty bad. Brasilians are by nature two faced and when your fighting starts in your country you will always have the disgraced leaders and crooks from around the world that you let in to help sort it all out. Dare Brazil have any right on UN council until you sort your own humanitarian issues out!

  • Colin and Amanda Edwards

    Having spent some time in Brasil on a tour of South America recently please may I amke a few cooments on what we found in Brasil. Firstly we are not American so maybe I might get a better response to my post. Firstly you want to be seen as equal quite rightly and you would like respect of course, sadly you cant tell the world to do these things you earn it. Rasism in Brasil is disgusting and very deap rooted owing to the very sad slave labour that Brasil came about. There is very little if any infrastucture there, sadly children are begging on the streets please learn by us if you dont give as hard as it is the parents will send them to school. It is normal to carry money about to give should you get held up, what Brasilians dont seem to realise is the ransome just gets higher, kidnappings etc. Brazil has a very romantic picture of being friends with all leaders etc… no one likes any wars but one day maybe brasilians will realise that is how Europe became so safe, tell me 40% brasilians are from european decent do you think we should have allowed Hitler to continue. The rich in Brazil get treated different to the poor by police etc you will not believe it yet but one day you too will have a civil war as the poorer and note black want to be treated as equal as they should be. History repeats always will just look at the Arab countries they want change and like us will go through the pain of war to get democracy yes of course we would love to just to to these leaders but we cant. Please stop thinking like all sensitive Brasilians the world doesnt hate you and sadly due to risk not many people know much about the country it is you people that have the problem as you are insecure, let the world decide please stop telling us how wonderfull you are. Earn respect. Even as an experience traveller we were very shocked in Brasil for many reasons, family life there is being destroyed in Brasil. It would seem that you can now pay for flights etc… in installments which for the poorer is brilliant as they can now enjoy some travelling, however it will also show them what the rest of the world is enjoying basic homes health education and above all freedom and safety, yes at the moment of course they are happy even when things are bad but but but they dont know the outside world yet and anger will come followed by civil war.

  • be happy

    why you guys hate so much?
    is the excess of fat affecting your brains?
    or need to learn to love… oh, it sounds strange, because your woman is cold as ice? don’t cook, don’t clean… only scream at you?
    have you seen how Brazilians are happy, even in the worst times?
    you got to see it to believe…
    Brazilians are the best!!!!

  • u.s. observer

    No Respect
    that 100,000 trailer trash americans you mention (which I do not believe)are the stupid usefull idiots that brazilian hores married for green cards in florida and massachusetts and new jersey can have them brazilian observer ,they are a embarassment to america.the illegal brazilian nationals brazil throws to america are inherently criminal,anti-american,uneducated , illiterate,and have nothing to offer the usa but a problem with understanding english ,such as GO HOME ILLEGAL BRAZILIANS GO HOME … Your chances of being arrested and deported are coming close.

  • Brasilian Observer

    To u.s. observer
    Looks like you got a cactus stuck up your ass. I believe is not even a real american cactus, but a fake imported from China by Walmart (where u shop with the rest of your beavis & butthead relatives).

    FYI, there may be close to 100,000 united stateans residing illegally within Brasil’s border & most of them are the worst trailer park trash variety.

  • u.s. observer

    up to 90% of brazilian nationals in boston,pompano,connecticutt,and new jersey are illegal
    “if they decide to return home to brazil” ….Guess what ,,,they have no choice but to return brazil either by self deporting or waiting to be caught and arrested as illegal aliens then they will be returning for sure..estimates of their total numbers are between 150,000 to 250,000 in the usa …the immigrant advocates who aid and abet them allways pump up the numbers to appear there is more of them then there really is do you count illegal brazilians being trafficked/smuggled in from brazil to the usa with fake documents and multiple identities. ..

  • u.s. observer

    the real story on brazilian nationals illegally in the usa.
    500,000 to 1 million brazilians in the usa ?????..the author of these figures is laughable !!!!…and they are paying into us social security you say????this is even more laughable …the majority of brazilian nationals in the usa are ILLEGAL ALIENS !!!!!.. And they are entitled to NOTHING !!!.. they are a insular criminal underground group who are counterfeiters ,fraudelent document dealers,fake brazilian identities,fake brazilian passports,and income tax scofflaws.Brazil should take their citizens back to brazil the usa does not want them much like any other foreign nationals illegally in the usa..

  • u.s. observer

    brazil call home your nationals in the u.s.a. illegally
    and america,s answer to brazil,s wanting to get respect from the usa should be ,respect is earned not a right!! .brazil does not respect america,s laws on immigration .brazil is a high violater of u.s.a. immigration laws … and brazil does nothing to stop the smuggling/trafficking of its own citizens to the usa to join the allready high numbers of illegal brazilians playing cat and mouse with u.s. law enforcement authorities.brazil claims its economy is stable and growing yet it has its own people sneaking across the mexican border to the usa to reside as illegal criminal aliens commiting a myriad of felonies and sending ill gotten u.s. dollars back to brazil through illegal money transfer operators…brazil,s leftists and their anti-american propaganda .brazil is disrespectfull and needs to get over its envy and jealousies of the usa.

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