Between the involvement of European and American air forces in Libya and the ongoing news coming out of Japan this weekend, Obama's trip to Brazil was a distant third in news coverage this weekend. Yet the trip is important for a number of reasons, not least of which is that Brazil seems to be heading in the opposite direction of the U.S. in terms of international political and economic prestige. Additionally, two years into his administration, this is Obama's first trip to Brazil, and it comes on the heels of the January inauguration of Dilma Rousseff, whose election may give Lula's Workers Party (PT) the legs to remain powerful in a post-Lula context.
Decades ago, it was directly outside of this theater, in Cinelandia Square, where the call for change was heard in Brazil. Students and artists and political leaders of all stripes would gather with banners that said, “Down with the dictatorship. The people in power.” Their democratic aspirations would not be fulfilled until years later, but one of the young Brazilians in that generation’s movement would go on to forever change the history of this country.