Other News...
                        sponsored by

Obama, Brazilian president to meet at White House

Send a link to a friend

[March 14, 2009]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Troubled world economies, energy and the environment will be among the topics for discussion when President Barack Obama sits down with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Trade, relations with Latin America and the case of a New Jersey man trying to bring his 8-year-old son back from Brazil also may come up when Obama and Silva meet Saturday at the White House.

The leaders also will compare notes on two international forums on their schedules next month, a gathering of the Group of 20 nations and the Summit of the Americas, said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs.

Brazil has become a major U.S. trading partner, and its cautious economic policies have helped it weather the global economic crisis better than almost all other major economies. South America's largest country, Brazil also has huge new sources of offshore oil and abundant ethanol, which could give it a key role in helping the U.S. wean itself off Venezuelan crude and shift to cleaner sources of energy.

Silva, who runs the world's fifth-most-populous nation and ninth-largest economy, has close ties with leaders across the political spectrum. He's been asked to lobby Obama for free trade on behalf of conservatives in Colombia and for dropping the U.S. embargo against communist Cuba.

Even Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has had a prickly relationship with the U.S., has asked his Brazilian counterpart to put in some good words for him.

"I'm going to ask that the U.S. take a different view of Latin America," Silva said before leaving his country. "We're a democratic, peaceful continent, and the U.S. has to look at the region in a productive, developmental way, and not just think about drug trafficking or organized crime."

After the global financial crisis, their next big discussion is likely to be about energy - biofuels and oil.

The world's largest exporter of ethanol, Brazil has seen little traction on its demand that the U.S. lift a 53-cent-per-gallon import tariff on the gasoline alternative. But in the past two years, Brazil has made offshore oil discoveries of some 80 billion barrels, and the find could help turn it into a major crude exporter and become a bargaining chip of sorts with the U.S.

Another issue that has sparked great interest in the two countries is the case of David Goldman, a Tinton Falls, N.J., man who is trying to bring his 8-year-old son back from Brazil. The boy was taken there in 2004 by his mother, who died several years later while giving birth to another child. She had divorced Goldman and married an attorney from Rio de Janeiro. Both children are being raised by the lawyer's family.

[to top of second column]

A unanimous House of Representatives this week urged Brazil to "act with extreme urgency" to return the boy to Goldman, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she has discussed the case with high-ranking Brazilian officials.

Thomas A. Shannon, the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, said Friday that Obama is aware of the case.

Silva, who has spoken by telephone with Obama on at least two occasions, will be the first Latin American leader to sit down with Obama. In recent weeks, Obama has met with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.


Associated Press writer Bradley Brooks in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.

[Associated Press; By DARLENE SUPERVILLE]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor