Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tea with the Progressives

    Will Brazil continue to prosper as America has under Mr. Obama?

 From the Center for American Progress:

With President Obama’s visit, the White House aimed to strengthen President Rousseff as she consolidated power within her own Workers’ Party (Partido dos Trabalhadores) after taking over from her wildly popular predecessor, two-term President Luiz InĂ¡cio Lula da Silva, known as Lula. During his two-day visit, President Obama spent substantial one-on-one time with President Rousseff and pointedly snubbed her most important political adversaries in the Brazilian Social Democracy Party. The message was clear—Rousseff is our chosen partner.
Obama’s visit to Rousseff—a little known former political activist of Bulgarian descent who was jailed during Brazil’s military dictatorship—just three months into her first term constituted a massive vote of confidence for Brazil’s new leader and was not without political risk for the White House. Clearly, from the perspective of the Obama administration, Rousseff’s election offered a unique opportunity for a renewed partnership between the two governments. With the emergence of a new global geometry and new centers of economic and political clout, it is clear that the United States has a vital interest in reaching out to democratic powers like Brazil. Likewise Brazil’s interests are served by a strengthening of this relationship as well.
Expertly scripted and executed, President Obama’s visit was exceptionally productive. A number of important cooperative agreements were signed or advanced on issues ranging from defense and peacekeeping to biofuels, science and technology to education. If a clear strategic vision for the future of this partnership has not yet been defined, the presidential visit represented a bold beginning and underlined the willingness of the United States to be an equal partner with Brazil in the Western Hemisphere.
Returning the president’s gesture, President Rousseff will pay an official visit to Washington today, with a strong focus on business relations and higher education. Certainly Rousseff will be able to share an impressive success story: Over the past decade, her Workers’ Party has presided over amazing economic growth and an impressive and necessary redistribution of wealth in Brazil through the wildly popular bolsa familia program—a conditional cash transfer plan designed to fight poor living conditions.
As a result of these progressive economic initiatives, more than 40 million people have been lifted out of poverty. In addition, infrastructure investments have increased and economic growth has improved, even in the poor and long-neglected northeast region of the country.

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