For LatAm Elites Brazil’s Lula Is on Top in Popularity and Bush on Bottom

Chilean President Ricardo Lagos is the most popular leader among the 34 heads of state that will be arriving in Mar del Plata, Argentina, for the IV America’s Summit.

At the other end of the ranking strangely enough stands Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez 29%; George Bush 25% and Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo, 23%.

The Washington based Zogby International consulting company and the Business School from the Miami University contracted the poll which rated support for President Lagos at 68%, followed by Brazil’s Lula da Silva, 64%; Mexico’s Vicente Fox, 56%; Nestor Kirchner, 49% and Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe, 47%.

The opinion poll was done among 500 representatives of Latinamerican elites in six countries from the region, last August/September. They include leading private sector businessmen; renowned media people; academics both from private and government education institutions.

President Fidel Castro who will not be present at Mar del Plata figures next to Venezuela’s Chavez with 27%.

Mr. Fox and Lula da Silva are supported by half of their countries’ elites but regionally drop to 38 and 31%. As to presidential performance, half of those interviewed are not satisfied, an attitude which jumps to 71% for Brazil’s Lula da Silva; 70% in Mexico and 68% in Venezuela.

Opinions regarding Argentine president Nestor Kirchner are split almost equal, while Chile’s Lagos and Colombia’s Uribe receive top marks, 88 and 62%.

However with the exception of Mr. Lagos, in all countries the elites are not satisfied with presidential performance in specific areas such as corruption, 67% and poverty, 56%.

President Lagos is also chosen as the Latinamerican "model" leader with 84% support in Chile, 51% in Argentina and 29% in Venezuela.

Among reliable and trusted organizations for Latinamerica elites figures European Union, 95%; Japan 93%; France and Spain 92%; Great Britain 81%; China 78%; United States 71% and last of all Arab countries, 46%.

The positive opinion of Britain varies from 69% in Argentina to 91% in Venezuela.

A majority considers Spain the region’s best friend in the world, 37%; United States 12% and 14% did not reply.

Spain also figures as the most reliable country for Argentina, 49%; Mexico 44% and Chile 42%. United States stands strongly in Colombia, but Argentines and Venezuelans are more inclined to say they have no best friend overseas.

As to China, 56% believe she will become Latinamerica main competitor in the near future, but four out of five consider China will also prove to be an important partner.

Mexicans are the most cautious about China’s competitiveness, 94% and the Chileans, 65%, the most optimistic about the Asian giant’s potential for the region.

This article appeared originally in Mercopress – www.mercopress.com.

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