Obama to visit Brazil

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President Barack Obama's late January 2011 announcement that he will visit Brazil, Chile and El Salvador in March " in what will be his first trip to South America " could result in an improvement in Brazil–US ties after a significant downturn over the previous two years.

Obama announced in his State of the Union address to Congress that he will visit the three countries as part of his efforts to strengthen ties with Latin America. The five–day visit is likely to take place in the second half of March 2011. There is little question that Brazil, the worlds eighth largest economy and an emerging global power, will be the most important leg of Obamas trip. Tensions between Brazil and Washington rose during the last two years of former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silvas administration over, among other things, Brazils diplomatic support of Iran. But now, after the 1 January 2011 inauguration of Lula da Silvas hand–picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, a former leftist guerrilla who served as his chief of staff, US officials are hopeful that they will be able to rebuild bilateral ties.

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