Primary Sources

PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite
Style:MLAAPAChicagoClose

loading...

Remarks by President Obama and President Rousseff of Brazil at Official Lunch in Brasilia, Brazil, March 2011

Speakers: Barack Obama, and Dilma Rousseff
Published March 19, 2011

Presidents Obama and Rousseff gave these remarks in Brasilia, Brazil on March 19, 2011.

Palácio do Itamaraty
Brasilia, Brazil

2:13 P.M. BRT

PRESIDENT ROUSSEFF:  (As translated.)  President of the United States; Madam Michelle Obama; Mr. Vice President of the Republic Michel Temer of Brazil; José Sarney, who is the Speaker of the House of the Senate; Deputy House Representative Marco Maia; Speaker of the House of Representatives; former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso; Ambassador Patriota, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Mrs. Tania Cooper Patriota; members, distinguished members of the American delegation; ladies and gentlemen ministers; ladies and gentlemen governors; senators; house representatives; business community representatives; ladies and gentlemen from the Trade Union National Labor Federations; dear ladies and gentlemen journalists; ladies and gentlemen -- on behalf of the Brazilian people, I would like to reiterate the welcome to President Barack Obama.

This visit is a great opportunity for us to open one more chapter of our partnership allying it to the realities and the challenges of the 21st century.  This is a reason of great honor for me that this meeting should happen in the very first months of my administration, and even more within the context of the first official visit of President Obama to South America.

The presence amongst us of Michelle Obama, Malia and Sasha, and of an important delegation with the authorities of the Cabinet, politicians and businessmen and women reinforce the spirit of friendship that we gather here.

As I said today in the morning, it is a fact that we should celebrate that the first woman President of Brazil will receive today and host the first President Afro descent of the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And this is even more important and has a greater significance when we remember that the U.S. and Brazil are the two countries that has the largest black population outside Africa.  Our countries have common traits to deepen our affinities amongst our peoples, to make our friendship ties even closer and more meaningful and everlasting, a relationship that is based only on formal agreements amongst governments.

We are multiethnical democracies.  We have a long track record of the struggle of the minorities and for the respect in favor of diversity and against discrimination and intolerance.  We value freedom, equality and independence of peoples and nations.  We have high regards of our sovereignty.

Today, we adopt a joint communiqué and a whole series of agreements that will confirm the density of the relations between our two countries.  We have established new objectives -- not only the bilateral agenda, but also at the regional and global level on the basis of which we would like to build an order of peace and cooperation.

The U.S. and Brazil pursue together the completion in a successful way of the Doha Round of the WTO, with trade rules that will be more transparent and more fair.

And on the bilateral trade, I’m sure that it’s of mutual interest to promote generations of more balanced flows -- either in quantitative as in qualitative terms.  The capacity and dynamism of the private sector in our countries is fundamental for us to reach this objective.  That’s why we would like to greet the CEO forum of the two countries.

President Obama, as I said before today in the morning, Brazil today experiences a sound and strong economic reality.  We’re very proud to stress that the progress that was reached in the last years has benefited, above all, the poorest ones, the disenfranchised. 

Since 2002, millions of citizens have been mainstreamed into the brackets of middle class and upper class in Brazil.  And that’s a historical event in terms of social inclusion.  I’m committed to continue the direction of President Lula, also seeking to eradicate extreme poverty in Brazil.

Our development also has been accomplished in a sustainable way with respect to -- vis-à-vis the environment.  We know that the Brazilian energy matrix is a renewable source of energy that Brazil has.  But we are willing to build a great partnership in the field of energy, either what refers to the exploration of the pre-salt deep oil reserves, as also the explorations of renewable sources of energies and clean energy that could guarantee for all mankind and for the humanity and for Brazil and for the U.S. a better improvement of its development in a sustained way.

I am sure that I can count with the partnership of the U.S. in this new undertaking.  Brazil of the 21st century will continue to be engaged in the promotion of harmony in its region.  We are very proud, as I said before, to live in peace for more than one century with all our 10 neighbors.  We make all endeavors to consolidate peace, security, democracy, cooperation and growth with social fairness.

But our vision goes beyond that, President Obama.  We’re building new partnerships in Africa and the Middle East.  We are feeding the legitimate hope to contribute without voluntarism to seek constructive and realistic solutions for the major contemporary challenges, as such promoting a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians -- dear and close -- friendly peoples that we feel solidarity with them.

We have cooperated with India and South Africa in the IBSA Forum.  We have a regular dialogue, together with our South American neighbors, with the Arab world.  In the summit meetings of South American and Arab countries, we keep also a very important dialogue with South America and Africa, a continent that we owe so much within the South America and Africa summit meetings.  We have integrated the most dynamic -- we integrated to the most dynamic economies -- that is the BRIC groups -- and we have developed a strategic partnership with the European Union.

We want to contribute to a benign multi-polarity that is founded on dynamics of free cooperation, free of the asymmetries of the past that generate crisis and instabilities. 

Dear President Obama:  Brazil and the U.S. share convergences that could be translated in a fine-tuning of the purposes of the present and the future, if for that -- we can do that if we dedicate the best of our efforts.

The challenges of the 21st century are very highly complex.  The destabilizing potential of political crises that we have been following is unpredictable and also demands, first, to make more adequate international mechanisms of world political governance.

The world of today is not the same world of 60 years ago.  And also here Brazil has the consciousness of its responsibilities.  And that’s why we are ready to give our contribution for peace and international security at the U.N. Security Council that will be enhanced, more equitable and more democratic council.

President Obama, I can reassure you, sir, that I hope that Your Excellency and your family will take from Brasilia and from Rio the best memories of this friendly country.  The U.S. and Brazil are two great nations with a great future ahead of friendship and cooperation.  We want to build it.  With this spirit, I propose that we should raise a toast to you and to the dream of Martin Luther King, the same dream of Brazilians and Americans, the dream of freedom, the dream of hope.

And President Obama, I will like to add another dream -- a dream of harmony and peace amongst all of us.  Let’s give a toast to you and to your family, sir, and to your delegation.

(A toast is offered.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  President Rousseff, to all the distinguished guests, elected officials, business leaders who are here, I want to thank you so much, not only for your very kind words but for the extraordinary hospitality that you and the Brazilian people have shown me, Michelle and our daughters.  You’ve shown us the essence of the Brazilian spirit, which is truly simpatico. 

We gather here at one of the city’s most magnificent structures, which speaks to the creativity and the ingenuity and vision of Brazil and its people.  It calls to mind the words of President Kubitschek, who said, “What is Brasilia if not the dawn of a new day for Brazil?”  In our lives we’ve seen that new day come to pass.  Because of the sacrifices and courage of Brazilians like Madam President, you have built a vibrant democracy.  Because of the hard work and determination of the Brazilian people -— parents, students, entrepreneurs -— you’ve built a thriving economy.  Future historians will surely record Brazil’s rise as one of the great achievements of our time. 

As I said earlier today, the United States doesn’t simply welcome Brazil’s rise; we want to help in any ways that we can to realize Brazil’s full potential.  When you look at what our two countries share, as President Rousseff mentioned -- our belief in the dignity of every individual, our confidence that if we put our minds to it there’s nothing we can’t do, the incredible diversity of our peoples, our sense of responsibility to not only people within our borders but people beyond our borders -— well, it’s only natural that we would end up being close partners.  We can go further together.

Madam President, today we have seized an historic opportunity.  We’ve laid a foundation for greater cooperation and partnership between our nations for decades to come.  And I firmly believe that this will mean more dignity, more prosperity and more security -— not only for the peoples of our two nations, but for people across Latin America and around the world.

So I propose a toast -- calling those words from President Kubitschek.  To the new day in Brazil -— may the sunlight of progress and peace always shine upon you.  Saude.

(A toast is offered.)  (Applause.)

More on This Topic