Rio do Janeiro governor Sergio Cabral said he expects US president Barack Obama to announce during his trip to Brazil that he supports Brasilia’s aspiration to hold a seat in a reformed UN Security Council.
“If I was president I would extend the same treatment given to India. I’m not president but nevertheless I have that expectation”, said Governor Cabral in reference to President Obama’s announcement in New Delhi that the US supported India’s bid for a permanent seat in the Security Council.
Governor Cabral belongs to PMDB, President Dilma Rousseff’s Workers Party main coalition partner and has been working jointly with the federal government in anticipation of Rio’s international agenda.
Cabral also added that if he was the Brazilian government “I would tell President Obama that Brazilian ethanol exports shouldn’t be taxed in the US as they are. The US government must revoke such an absurd tariff. If he’s after Brazilian petroleum he must treat Brazilian ethanol with dignity”.
The governor confirmed that President Obama and family would spend two nights in Rio and on Sunday together with wife Michelle and daughters they would be visiting Christ the Redeemer monument and Cidade de Deus (City of God) where the federal and state governments have a Pacifying Law enforcement Unit, UPP, as part of the program to clear the favelas (shanty towns) of crime, drugs and violence.
Cabral however admitted he was a bit surprised by the fact the US president chose the Cidade de Deus favela instead of Chapeau Mangueira as had been originally suggested.
“I was a bit disappointed because in his auto-biography Obama dedicates three pages to his mother’s discovery of black Brazilian culture, which happened with the world famous film “Orfeu Negro. Actually 80% of the scenery of the film was from Chapeu Mangueira, but Cidada de Deus is not a bad choice. I’m sure that for President Obama it will be highly emotional to personally visit a pacified community, which he could have seen mentioned in another film but extremely violent”.
The governor denied that his administration’s strategy would be to fill up the Cinelandia plaza where Obama is scheduled to make a speech, Sunday afternoon. “Obama is an icon, he brings people spontaneously, caravans of people will be coming on their own, you can be sure of that”.
Asked how many people could be expected to fill the open space, ‘half a million?’ Cabral said the only king is Roberto Carlos (a popular Brazilian singer), but “Obama will be extremely welcomed but half a million is for King Roberto Carlos”.
Finally Cabral said that Obama and his family’s visit is part of the great moment the city of Rio do Janeiro is going through which includes the 2016 Olympic Games. “Obama is coming to Rio to learn about the city which beat his candidate for the Olympics, Chicago which is also his political turf”.
“The fact that President Obama and the First family are visiting Rio is extraordinary. It’s also confirmation that Democrats have a better taste and feeling that Republicans. President Bush never set foot in Rio but former president Bill Clinton did and so will Obama”, concluded Cabral.