President Obama Speaks to the People of Brazil

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
March 21, 2011
Men Watch President Obama Deliver a Speech in Rio de Janeiro

On March 20, 2011, President Barack Obama delivered remarks to the people of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. President Obama said:

"...Yesterday, I met with your wonderful new President, Dilma Rousseff, and talked about how we can strengthen the partnership between our governments. But today, I want to speak directly to the Brazilian people about how we can strengthen the friendship between our nations. I've come here to share some ideas because I want to speak of the values that we share, the hopes that we have in common, and the difference that we can make together.

"When you think about it, the journeys of the United States of America and Brazil began in similar ways. Our lands are rich with God's creation, home to ancient and indigenous peoples. From overseas, the Americas were discovered by men who sought a New World, and settled by pioneers who pushed westward, across vast frontiers. We became colonies claimed by distant crowns, but soon declared our independence. We then welcomed waves of immigrants to our shores, and eventually after a long struggle, we cleansed the stain of slavery from our land.

"The United States was the first nation to recognize Brazil's independence, and set up a diplomatic outpost in this country. The first head of state to visit the United States was the leader of Brazil, Dom Pedro II. In the Second World War, our brave men and women fought side-by-side for freedom. And after the war, both of our nations struggled to achieve the full blessings of liberty.

"On the streets of the United States, men and women marched and bled and some died so that every citizen could enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities -- no matter what you looked like, no matter where you came from.

"In Brazil, you fought against two decades of dictatorships for the same right to be heard -- the right to be free from fear, free from want. And yet, for years, democracy and development were slow to take hold, and millions suffered as a result.

"But I come here today because those days have passed. Brazil today is a flourishing democracy -- a place where people are free to speak their mind and choose their leaders; where a poor kid from Pernambuco can rise from the floors of a copper factory to the highest office in Brazil.

"Over the last decade, the progress made by the Brazilian people has inspired the world. More than half of this nation is now considered middle class. Millions have been lifted from poverty. For the first time, hope is returning to places where fear had long prevailed."

President Obama continued, "For so long, Brazil was a nation brimming with potential but held back by politics, both at home and abroad. For so long, you were called a country of the future, told to wait for a better day that was always just around the corner.

"Meus amigos, that day has finally come. And this is a country of the future no more. The people of Brazil should know that the future has arrived. It is here now. And it's time to seize it.

"Now, our countries have not always agreed on everything. And just like many nations, we're going to have our differences of opinion going forward. But I'm here to tell you that the American people don't just recognize Brazil's success -- we root for Brazil's success. As you confront the many challenges you still face at home as well as abroad, let us stand together -- not as senior and junior partners, but as equal partners, joined in a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect, committed to the progress that I know that we can make together. I'm confident we can do it.

"Together we can advance our common prosperity. As two of the world's largest economies, we worked side by side during the financial crisis to restore growth and confidence. And to keep our economies growing, we know what's necessary in both of our nations. We need a skilled, educated workforce -- which is why American and Brazilian companies have pledged to help increase student exchanges between our two nations.

"We need a commitment to innovation and technology -- which is why we've agreed to expand cooperation between our scientists, researchers, and engineers.

"We need world-class infrastructure -- which is why American companies want to help you build and prepare this city for Olympic success.

"In a global economy, the United States and Brazil should expand trade, expand investment, so that we create new jobs and new opportunities in both of our nations. And that's why we're working to break down barriers to doing business. That's why we're building closer relationships between our workers and our entrepreneurs.

"Together we can also promote energy security and protect our beautiful planet. As two nations that are committed to greener economies, we know that the ultimate solution to our energy challenges lies in clean and renewable power. And that's why half the vehicles in this country can run on biofuels, and most of your electricity comes from hydropower. That's also why, in the United States, we've jumpstarted a new clean energy industry. And that's why the United States and Brazil are creating new energy partnerships -- to share technologies, create new jobs, and leave our children a world that is cleaner and safer than we found it.

"Together, our two nations can also help defend our citizens' security. We're working together to stop narco-trafficking that has destroyed too many lives in this hemisphere. We seek the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. We're working together to enhance nuclear security across our hemisphere. From Africa to Haiti, we are working side by side to combat the hunger, disease, and corruption that can rot a society and rob human beings of dignity and opportunity. And as two countries that have been greatly enriched by our African heritage, it's absolutely vital that we are working with the continent of Africa to help lift it up. That is something that we should be committed to doing together.

"Today, we're both also delivering assistance and support to the Japanese people at their greatest hour of need. The ties that bind our nations to Japan are strong. In Brazil, you are home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. In the United States, we forged an alliance of more than 60 years. The people of Japan are some of our closest friends, and we will pray with them, and stand with them, and rebuild with them until this crisis has passed.

"In these and other efforts to promote peace and prosperity throughout the world, the United States and Brazil are partners not just because we share history, not just because we're in the same hemisphere; not just because we share ties of commerce and culture, but also because we share certain enduring values and ideals.

"We both believe in the power and promise of democracy. We believe that no other form of government is more effective at promoting growth and prosperity that reaches every human being -- not just some but all. And those who argue otherwise, those who argue that democracy stands in the way of economic progress, they must contend with the example of Brazil.

"The millions in this country who have climbed from poverty into the middle class, they could not do so in a closed economy controlled by the state. You're prospering as a free people with open markets and a government that answers to its citizens. You're proving that the goal of social justice and social inclusion can be best achieved through freedom -- that democracy is the greatest partner of human progress.

"We also believe that in nations as big and diverse as ours, shaped by generations of immigrants from every race and faith and background, democracy offers the best hope that every citizen is treated with dignity and respect, and that we can resolve our differences peacefully, that we find strength in our diversity.

"We know that experience in the United States. We know how important it is to be able to work together -- even when we often disagree. I understand that our chosen form of government can be slow and messy. We understand that democracy must be constantly strengthened and perfected over time. We know that different nations take different paths to realize the promise of democracy. And we understand that no one nation should impose its will on another.

"But we also know that there's certain aspirations shared by every human being: We all seek to be free. We all seek to be heard. We all yearn to live without fear or discrimination. We all yearn to choose how we are governed. And we all want to shape our own destiny. These are not American ideals or Brazilian ideals. These are not Western ideals. These are universal rights, and we must support them everywhere."

You can read the President's full remarks here.

Comments

Comments

Ryan
|
Algeria
March 22, 2011

Ryan in Algeria writes:

I hope that Rio has a successful Olympics.

Kuzmeve
|
District Of Columbia, USA
March 22, 2011

Kuzmeve in Washington, DC writes:

I am incredibly excited about the opportunities presented in a U.S. partnership with Brazil. In light of the current economic recession, I think it is particularly important that we establish a healthy trade relationship with Brazil and other countries around the globe. While President Obama is clearly taking a step in the right direction in expanding US trade with Latin America and East Asia, as seen with the recent push to pass the Federal Trade Agreement (FTA) with South Korea, I think it is essential the President continue to lead Congress and the American people in this direction. Already, such movement has beeen seen in the US Senate. For example, last week Senator Lugar (R-IN) introduced a US Senate Resolution to strengthen US-Brazil relations through an International Tax Treaty. I believe this is a powerful step towards a new direction in American trade relations and is clearly conducive with the Administration’s agenda. I hope Congress will follow Senator Lugar's lead and work in conjunction with the Administration to further American business.

Overall, I am excited about the opportunity presented through further relations with Brazil and proud the President has taken steps towards improving the American economy despite the various global crises in Japan and the Middle East. I hope the President will continue to pursue further relations with Brazil, and also push the FTAs with South Korea,Colombia and Panama.

.

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