Brazilian Reactions To The U.S. President: Then And Now

More than six years after President Bush assumed office, the global view of the United State’s role in world affairs has significantly deteriorated. A recent BBC world poll reported that even in the past two years the U.S.’s reputation around the world has gone “from bad to worse.”

The practical fallout of “the Bush effect” has been on full display in Brazil, where only 19 percent of the nation has a favorable opinion of him. A review of news reports from President Clinton’s trip to Brazil 10 years ago demonstrate how much times have changed:

Christian Science Monitor, 10/15/97:clinton

[I]t was his trip to a Xerox-sponsored sports center in the Rio slum of Mangueira that won the hearts of many Brazilians and caused a TV commentator to tell his viewers that Clinton’s speech had him on “the verge of tears.” … [Clinton] ignored the Secret Service’s rigid security by shaking hands and allowing admirers to hug and kiss him. Some gave him shirts and caps emblazoned with the logo of the slum’s carnival group. “He looked liked a happy kid finally let loose on the streets,” said Jamelao, one of Mangueira’s most famous samba personalities. Clinton waved a Brazilian flag, listened to samba music while hitting a tambourine, and kicked a soccer ball with Brazil Sports Minister Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the legendary ex-player known as Pele.

BBC, 3/9/07:protest

Clashes broke out in Brazil’s largest city as US President Bush arrived at the start of a six-day regional tour. At least 20 people were injured in clashes with riot police in Sao Paulo after thousands turned out to protest against George W Bush’s visit. … In Sao Paulo, about 10,000 people spilled out along one of the city’s broadest avenues, in the heart of the financial district, banging drums, waving red flags and carrying banners reading “Bush Go Home.” … Many of the demonstrators are angry at the war in Iraq and the proposed ethanol deal, which they say is an attempt to control the country’s production of the bio-fuel which powers eight out of 10 new cars in Brazil.