Saturday, March 19, 2011

Obama Visit Causes a stir in Rio de Janeiro

Signs read "Get Out Obama"

So Cariocas are supposed to be peaceful people but they definitely have their opinions... and know how to show them.

O Globo newspaper reported:

“I was in the center of the protest when people began to run and I heard shots,” said AFP photographer Vanderlei Almeida. “I had to get out of there because it was hard to breathe.”
According to the Reserved Service of the 13th Military Police Battalion (Tiradentes Square), the protesters threw a Molotov cocktail at the U.S. Consulate. Part of the device reached a vigilante and his vest caught fire. To counter the confusion, MPs threw stun grenades and tear gas.

Almeida was struck by two rubber bullets — one hit him in the leg, and the other in his stomach. Several protesters were detained, Almeida said.

The march began in front of the Candelaria church in downtown Rio, and followed by the Rio Branco Avenue until you reach the consulate. Were displayed banners reading “Obama, go home” and “Imperialism no! Obama, take the jaws of the pre-salt. All the solidarity of peoples in struggle.”

Several protesters were detained, Almeida said.

Translation by and more information at:


  1. The reality is that Brazilians LOVE President Obama for a variety of reason, not the least of which is that he is a successful black man. (And NOT George W. Bush!)

    Being upset because you cannot drive through town for a day or two is not the same as having a political analysis striking down a foreign politician.

    I say get over yourself and order in pizza. You will have your open (yet clogged) roads back in a few days.

  2. Whoa, it's not like he is harshing their mellow with 112+ Tomahawk missiles of screaming destruction. They should love him especially after all of the humanitarian aid sent to Japan after the unfortunate natural and nuclear castastrophe....uh...maybe not. My bad....

  3. We were at the beach yesterday and one of those banner-tower planes had a message that said, "Nao pre sal, go home Obama"... from what I have read it's a fringe PT group that is making most of the protests, and I can see why Brasilians would be a little suspicious of U.S. interest of any kind...what's behind it? Oil, why yes! But I also know that many people here want Brazil to move forward and see this visit as something significant and positive for Brazil, and Brazil deserves to be more involved in world affairs/matters. Deserves more recognition and respect. Really, any country worth anything should have citizens voicing their opinions freely, I say yes. But NOT with aggression or violence.

    That said, I wish there wasn't this issue with Libya, geeze more wars, lives, money?!? Really lessened my enthusiam this weekend.

  4. While I think turning it into a protest of sorts is too much, I have to agree that Obama has no business speaking to the Brazilian people. Honestly, how is that necessary? I'm totally pro any diplomatic agreements between the two countries, but Obama should save his words for the American people.

  5. PT has been in power for over 8 years. During most of that period they retained the Cardoso government's policy concerning oil extraction since they noticed that private investors biding for fields in the end helped increase output, plus forced Petrobras to be more competitive. In fact what the Cardoso government did was take monopoly status from Petrobras and tranfer it to the Brazilian state, which then changed policy allowing private investors and companies to participate in extraction while still giving Petrobras huge perks since said companies had to partner up with the state oil giant to explore certain fields. Plus Petrobras was allowed to receive private investment hence alleviating the burden cast on taxpayers.
    Then the pre-salt fields were found and soon after PT decided to enact new regulations in benefit of the Brazilian state and against private investors and foreign companies.
    Was this good? Was this fair? I honestly do not know. What puzzles me is: what are these people protesting against? Perhaps, with a left leaning African-American president in the White House and a third term for PT guaranteed, times have become boring for the Brazilian left.
    So they make up some bogus reason to have yet another anti-American rally, impress the chicks, smoke a little something and try to score later on. Fair enough, we have all been there, but the person who threw the molotov cocktail is a bit too horny.

  6. I am glad Brazilians enjoy freedom of speech but the ones who set the man on fire need to be in JAIL for a LONG TIME, no mercy on these creeps.
    There is no reason to protest, they are for a left government. The left has dominated Brazilian politics for a long time now and Obama is also on the left, well, not really, but that is a whole other conversation.
    These people are what we Brazilians call "Rebeldes sem causa" or "Rebels without a cause", thes throws will always cause a stir, no matter who or what is happening.
    I am glad you are safe Rachel :)

  7. Ray, People get 6 years for murder down here. I think the guy who threw it was shown the jail and taken home ;)

    Gritty Poet - hilarious! Maybe people just really miss the blocos from Carnaval and figured a protest was the closest thing.

    Samia, Good will? Just to talk? I mean, it's not a big deal either way. I would totally have gone to see Lula speak in the US.

    Greg- He did send aide! Of course not to the Americans trapped there but cooling agent or something

    Jim, Some Brazilians just still hate us all. An American closing their streets was the last straw.

    Steph- I agree demonstrate but without violence!

  8. Bunch of stupid assholes protesting... Nobody protests about the senators who steal this country blind, with paychecks and benefits that are just uncanny.
    Then you had Lula, who was friends with dictators who had a history of killing people who opposed them.
    I am sure there is commercial interest in our oil, but you have to be very naive to think these days a country can come "get" our oil...

    On the other hand the gov of Venezuela has refused to pay back billions and who is here protesting against Chavez?

    Bunch of ignorant aholes like I said before.

  9. Regardless who Obama is, there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans. Look what is happening in Libya. This week Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain to help the kingdom crash the protesters and nothing was said. Now the Americans are targeting our oil. Brazil better start growing its military in order to protect our interests. Otherwise you will be seeing American marines arriving in our beaches and their planes bombing our beautiful coast cities.

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  12. Anonymous,

    You should write comedy, because you have to connection with reality and a hell of a vivid imagination.


    You are correct, what is happening in Lybia is a joint innitiative to protect the Lybian people.
    Just as a side note, the US buys no Oil from Lybia but all of Europe does, no wonder France is leading the attacks, not the US, we are supporting the allies, because, well, we are allies, to protect each other from a lot of crap around the world. I wish Brazil would join the allies in enforcing the no fly zone over Lybia, maybe then Brazil would be taken more seriouly on it's wishes to become part of the UN's security council.


    I am with you, well said, I second your comment "in numero, genero e grau" ;)


  13. Actually the US buys approximately 0.5% of its oil from Libya with the bulk going to the European allies as you correctly mentioned. I'm not a Kadafi's supporter but there were many other ways they could have dealt with him without shelling Libya.
    Paronoia? They said the same during the 60s and 70s when CIA agents operated in the South American countries training governments to torture and kill their citizens.

  14. I will call it paranoia until I see the marines landing on the beach. For starters, oil isn't the only thing the US could be interested. If you are going to start having irrational fears of the US "stealing" goods, broaden your horizon. Brazil is full of them.

    As for the 60s and 70s, I can't comment because I don't know what happened then. I have heard many things and have no doubt that the US government could be that diabolical. However, not every presidency is the same. Countries can develop.

    Personally, I would prefer a hands off approach to all world battles. That way we stopped getting grief both way, when we get involved or not.

  15. No matter how distasteful it is, Qaddafi is and has been the legitimate ruler of Libya for four decades. If the people of Libya want a change, they are the ones that need to make it through either peaceful or non-peaceful means. They may be successful like those in Egypt, or they may fail like the Confederate States in the US civil war. What is happening in Libya IS a civil war and civil wars are expressly an internal matter for the respective country.

    Neither the UN, nor any other outside country, has any business getting involved. I don't think the UN charter authorizes the violent overthrow of legitimate governments. This is setting a very dangerous precedent in international politics.

    Just imagine in the future if say...oh...the Tea Party in the US decides to rebel against the US government. They are not doing so well in the battle so they call on the UN for military aid. With this current precedent being made, the UN may very well aid them.

    And remember, while you may sympathize with the rebels, there is a lot of the population that still supports Qadaffi. Either way this civil war pans out, there will be a lot of unhappy Libyans.

    BYW, I have searched the net trying to find the reasons why Obama is here in Brazil. I found some interesting blurbs stating that he is going to try to hustle sales of F/18s to Brazil to replace their aging Mirage fighters. Uh, why would Brazil need any new military hardware? Brazil doesn't fight - it loves (and dances and celebrates).

  16. It's said that he came to mend fences as Lula left office talking a bit of smack about Obama being another one of our fascist leaders or something like that. He wants to get back on Brazil's good side.

    I guess there was argument over opening US boarders to Brazilian agriculture. Obama wouldn't as to protect American farmers and then more followed.

    And let's be honest, we want Brazil to back us up. Brazil is the cool kid of the countries. If Brazil is like "Yo, you have the US wrong. They are totally cool. We hang all the time." It will be beneficial.

  17. Rachel,

    You are totally correct, the US is trying to mend fences. Bush had such a poor and distant relation with Lula that China surpassed the US as Brazil's main trading partner.
    Now, that Brazil has a serious, capable person in power, Mrs. Roussef, Obama is here to work on the countries relationship, improve trade and try to regain it's traditional role as Brazil's main partner in Business.


    You should thank the sweet baby Jesus and "Nossa Senhora Aparecida" those CIA agents who helped Brazil learn how to arrest and torture assholes like the comunist bastards who set the guard on fire on the stupid protest Rachel mentions on this post.
    If those crazy comunist bastards had gotten their way, Brazil today would be as poor and miserable as Cuba, maybe worse.
    I will admit that the militaries were violent and extreme at times, and made a lot of serious unforgivable mistakes, but they asured stability and properity when Brazil needed the most, stability that allowed the moment of opportunity and prosperity seen today.
    Brazil had a dark period under the military dictatorship, but I think it would have been a lot worse without them.
    Brazilians are not stupid, if the Americans want something, they will get it, but they will definitely pay the price for it.
    Brazil has been asking for a break to make it easy to seel Agricultural products in the US's heavily subsidized market, now, the US wants a share of the Billions to retrofit Brazil for the Olympics and the World Cup, so maybe Dilma will say, listen, let us sell our Orange juice, Cotton, Peanuts, Soy, Corn, Sugar and Coffee in the US with less taxes and we will give you a couple Soccer Stadiums, Airports, Harbor, Roads and Hotels to build down here and we will trow in the renovation of our Fighter Jets flee. These projects could mean thousands of American jobs from Boston to Seattle and everywhere in between.
    This is more or less how it works.
    There is no Marines invading Brazilian beaches for Oil!!
    What the hell? You've been watching too many Sylvester Stallone movies from the 1980's. ;)

  18. I would actually say that many Brazilians do like the US and are proud of Obama showing up in their country. They see it as a recognition of the improvements of the country.

    Of course, you always have protests. A pity that they needed to include violence as it's bad marketing again for Rio. In any case Obama is here to improve trade relationships and of course oil is a huge part of the business.

    But to Anonymous: I wouldn't be scared the US or UN as a whole will start to attack Brazil for it's oil :) . There are other ways to get that.

    About Libya: a good thing action is taken, FINALLY. I only hope that the population will be smart enough to stay far away from the Muslim fundamentalists or they'll replace one nut-case with a bunch of others.

  19. Interesting to see that not everyone is caught up in the "star power" of the sock puppet. Now that his NCAA picks have been made and 110 Tomahawk missles have been lobed into a foreign country without Congressional approval, he can get on with being a Carioca for the weekend. And no, no matter what anyone may say, the UN does NOT override our Constitution! Just as Bush ignored the procedures, 'O', the Nobel Peace Prize winner (Is that as important as winning the Publisher's Clearinghouse?) has just done the same.

  20. I think it's harder to win the Publisher's Clearinghouse

  21. I think the whole thing was in really poor taste.

    Tapes of conversations between Kennedy and other US officials hoping for and planning how best to help the military take things over in Brazil (mostly as a result of the Brazilian governments refusal to give AT&T a monopoly over telecommunications expansion) have been public for a long time. Most educated Brazilians know the US was involved and since we're barely a generation about, many still harbor sore feelings.

    For Obama to come in and hold a highly policed event on the same spot where protestors called for the end of the military dictatorship rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.

    Then, for him to cancel and hold a private event for Brazil's elite (including large numbers of the PMDB, a party left over from the military dictatorship with close ties to the militia in the Z.Oeste) was a real slap in the face. If it was because of safety concerns, they never should have said it would be public. If it was to avoid the protests and a poor image (which is likely since it was Sergio Cabral and the Brazilians who pushed for the move not the US) then that's even worse.

    He made people show up 4 hours early for a 20min talk where he made a major faux paus. I know cariocas have a rep for being laid back, but they are actually super formal in terms of dress. For Obama to enter the teatro municipal without a tie and skipping was absolutely ridiculous.

    He came here and just asked for things FROM Brazil - oil, that Brazil stops complaining about subsidies, fighter jet contract, special priveleges for US companies in getting ready for the olympics and during the olympics themselves - and didn't offer a damn thing. He said a lot of pretty words "no more senior and junior partners" but the message was the same old, same old.

    Did he really need to close all the surrounding businesses and streets to show off how "cool" he is? It was a nice attempt, but it showed he little he understands about Brazil.

    Oh, and Michelly not being able to say "Bom Dia" was a total disgrace. Portuguese is the second most common language in several large states including Massachusetts. She doesn't work and is rolling in money and assistants. She can learn how to say one word without laughing.

  22. Chris,

    How much do you wanna bet our Repulican dominated Congress would vote against Obama's orders to attack the Lybian dictator!!!
    I guarantee you they would be against anything O does or doesn't do, if it comes from Nobel Peace Prize winner Mr. O, the Republicans will be against it, making sense or not...

  23. That's what I've been telling everyone for years... the illusion of Democracy in the US is this phony battle back and forth, everytime a new President is in the 'house. If it's a Repub prez, the Dems will obstruct and block everything. If it's a Dem prez, the Repubs do the same damn thing. NOTHING GETS ACCOMPLISHED! It's like being on an out of control merry-go-round with no off-switch. It just keeps on going... Both parties make me sick to my stomach. As soon as more people realize it for what it really is, instead of voting the same cast of characters back in then maybe there's a chance for it to stop. Until then, the Coyote will always chase the Road Runner and never get him on his plate.

    And yes, I agree that the Repubs will give 'O' shit about the attack because it's not their boy in the seat. Just as the Dems did to Bush (who I can't stand, for the record) over the unconstitutional invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. A bit surprising due to the fact that most of them are neo-con warmongers, but they have to put on a tough face and denounce it because it's 'O'. I just wonder how the spin-doctors in the MSM will handle this, seeing as how 'O' has left them in a bit of a pickle over this one.

    The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner has: raised troop levels in Afghanistan; increased the number of drone attacks in Pakistan; kept the terrorist detention center in Guantanamo Bay fully intact, and; now bombed Libya.

    The thing that rubs me raw is how hypocritcal everyone is on both sides. Cindy Sheehan was camped out at Bush's ranch and just about every public appearance protesting the wars. The Dems egged her on, Jessie Jackson was there holding hands with her and the MSM was giving her a ton of face-time. When 'O' came in and promised to end the wars in his first 100 days, or year, I can't remember which now, and instead he sent MORE troops over, Cindy was right back out there protesting and with a new target: 'O'. Where was the anti-war Liberal backing? Not a whisper. Where was the MSM showing her shouting down 'O'? Didn't make it on air. Where was Jackson? Didn't have time for her anymore. Now that the Dems have their boy in, everything is a hush over Iraq and Afghanistan. Business as usual.

    What happened to: 'He's not a cowboy like Bush!', 'He'll use diplomacy!' 'He won't be unilateral!'

    Makes me sick, I tell ya!

  24. Rachel, don't get me wrong. I'd like to hear what Obama has to say to/about Brazil, I just find the whole speech thing unnecessary (I'd feel the same if Dilma were to talk to the people here in the US). There are other media he could use to address Brazilian citizens, ie TV
    I think it's extremely odd that a president would make a speech to the people of any country other than his own.
    That said, I like Obama. I live in Chicago and I was here for his election and it was amazing to watch (it did stop traffic and everything else in Chicago too). I felt a lot of the same hope and desire for change that I felt when Lula became president in Brazil.