View from the Audience in Rio


March 21, 2011


As one of the invited guests to President Obama's speech to the Brazilian people on March 20, Julia Michaels, author of the blog Rio Real, described the atmosphere inside the Municipal Theatre and subsequent reaction from Rio residents in a recent post. The blog covers and analyzes the ongoing transformation of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Ms. Michaels wrote that Obama struck all the right tones: starting off the address with a reference to Brazil's beloved soccer (which elicited cheers from the audience); mentioning the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games; and lauding the politicians who have sought to pacify favelas. Michaels said that the First Family's choice of tourist sites was praiseworthy: a tour of Christ the Redeemer, a Brazilian musical performance and a capoeira presentation. Also, Obama's effusive praise of Rio—and noted exclusion of São Paulo in his visit—won over the hearts of cariocas by speaking to the seemingly infinite potential of Rio de Janeiro.

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