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World Citizen: Latin America's Tempered Obama-Mania

Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009

When throngs of Brazilians take to the streets of Rio de Janeiro next month for the famous Carnival, Barack Obama will be there, dancing to the sultry beat of the samba. Obama masks are all the rage as preparations for the Carnival kick into high gear. When the party starts, hundreds, maybe thousands of Brazilians with Obama masks will hit the streets. Not surprisingly, the new president of the United States has become a celebrity in Latin America, just as he has in the rest of the planet.

While at times it seems the entire globe is cheering Obama in unison, in Latin America, Obama-mania has a different pitch. To be sure, there was excitement, even exuberance, on Inauguration Day, when the presidency of George W. Bush ended and the first African-American president came to power in Washington. But the good feelings were tempered by indications that the region figures far down the long list of Obama's priorities. ...

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