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Cablegate: Visit of President George W. Bush to Sao Paulo, Brazil

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OO RUEHRD RUEHRG
DE RUEHSO #0212/01 0781249
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191249Z MAR 07
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6597
INFO RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 7713
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 7905
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 3453
RUEHRD/AMCONSUL MERIDA 0003
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO 2308
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION 2965
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 2677
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 0463
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ 3278
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO 2020
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 1526
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO 0521
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA 1132
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO 0799
RUEHGT/AMEMBASSY GUATEMALA CITY 0103
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 2744
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 0667
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHEHAAA/WHITEHOUSE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 SAO PAULO 000212

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR S/ES, WHA/FO, WHA/BSC, E
STATE PASS USTR SCRONIN
STATE PASS EXIMBANK
STATE PASS OPIC FOR DMORONESE, NRIVERA, CVERVENNE
NSC FOR FISK, CARDENAS, FEARS
USDOC FOR 4332/ITA/MAC/WH/OLAC
USDOC FOR 3134/ITA/USCS/OIO/WH/RD
TREASURY FOR OASIA, DAS LEE AND JHOEK
DOE FOR GWARD
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
USAID FOR LAC/AA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OVIP BUSH GEORGE PREL PGOV SOCI EPET KTIA BR
SUBJECT: VISIT OF PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH TO SAO PAULO, BRAZIL


SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED - PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) On March 8-9, President George W. Bush came to Sao Paulo,
Brazil for the first stop in his five-country visit to the Latin
American nations of Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala, and
Mexico. This visit served to underscore the U.S. commitment to the
Western Hemisphere and highlighted the common agenda to advance
freedom, prosperity, social justice, and the benefits of democracy
in the areas of health, education, and economic opportunity. The
President was accompanied by the First Lady, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice (Secstate), USTR Ambassador Schwab, and Ambassador
Sobel. The one-day visit in Sao Paulo included bilateral talks
between President Bush and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da
Silva, at which the two Presidents covered a range of issues. A
major focus of the day was biofuels, including cooperation between
Brazil and the United States in third countries. President Bush was
treated to a demonstration of the ethanol production process and
flex-fuel automobile engines, and he and President Lula spoke
publicly about the importance of partnering in biofuels. In
addition, Secstate signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with
Foreign Minister Amorim to enhance collaboration and research in the
biofuels area (see septel).

2. (SBU) On the afternoon of March 9, the President held a
roundtable discussion on opportunities for at-risk youth, attended
by the director of a Sao Paulo social inclusion program centered on
teaching life skills via music and dance (the Meninos do Morumbi),
other directors of at-risk youth programs, and selected
representatives of U.S. private-sector sponsors. Mrs. Bush
conducted a separate program as she visited and held discussions
with several social programs for at-risk youth concentrating on
literacy and college preparation.

3. (SBU) The visit received extensive media coverage, focusing on
Brazilian and U.S. cooperation on biofuels and U.S. Brazil trade
relations. Although there was also press coverage of the protests
and traffic disruption caused by the visit, overall the local media
inclined towards a positive view of both the visit and of continued
and improved Brazil - U.S. relations. End Summary.

BIOFUELS: ETHANOL PRODUCTION AND FLEX FUEL CARS
--------------------------------------------- --

4. (SBU) The President's visit included a stop at a facility of
Petrobras Transporte, a bulk petroleum transport and storage
company. It is a subsidiary of Petrobras, Brazil's parastatal
energy company, and the largest publicly traded corporation in the
Southern hemisphere. He was greeted by President Luiz Inacio Lula
da Silva and Petrobras President Jose Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo.
Immediately after a briefing by industry experts, the President
viewed a demonstration of the ethanol production process and flex
fuel engines, and then a demonstration of GM Brazil and Ford Brazil
flex fuel cars presently sold in Brazil, which have the option of

SAO PAULO 00000212 002 OF 004


operating on either traditional gasoline or ethanol - or any
combination thereof.

5. (SBU) In addressing the group, both Presidents expressed the
importance of the strategic partnership between the two countries
centered on the potential represented by innovation in alternative
fuels, particularly ethanol and biodiesel. President Lula
emphasized the social and environmental benefits resulting from the
use of biofuels. President Bush expressed similar sentiments while
noting that this is also a national security issue. He encouraged
other countries, particularly in Central America, to minimize their
dependence on oil and to look more to alternative energy. The
overall message from both Presidents was optimistic about the future
potential of alternative fuels. They both emphasized the importance
of continued collaboration between the GoB and the USG on research
and development in this area. President Lula said that partnership
between Brazil and the United States on biofuels offered the
possibility of a new moment for humanity.

VISIT TO MENINOS DO MORUMBI: INFECTIOUS DRUM BEAT
--------------------------------------------- ----

6. (SBU) The President and Mrs. Bush were welcomed by Flavio
Pimenta, founder of the "Meninos do Morumbi" (Children of Morumbi)
project. Originally a factory, the Meninos facility has now been
converted into classrooms and a performing arts center for
teenagers. They entered the "digital garage," where the President
engaged with a dozen students who showed him their computer
projects. Then, accompanied by the Ambassador, the President took
part in a roundtable discussion on opportunities for at-risk youth
employment. The roundtable participants included Sister Angela
Kerry of Notre Dame, Indiana, and Doctor Claudio Lottenberg - both
of whom headed projects to reach at-risk youth - as well as Meninos
director Pimenta and Congressman Paulo Lustosa from Brazil's
northeast state of Ceara. Two young people who once benefited from
the featured programs but now teach in them, participated, as did
two private-sector sponsors, the country directors of Dell Computers
and Becton Dickinson. After the roundtable, the President went to
the hall where 80 Meninos de Morumbi youth danced, sang and drummed
the infectious Brazilian samba beat. The President spent over an
hour at the project before departing for the airport.

MRS. BUSH'S SOCIAL PROGRAMS VISIT
---------------------------------

7. (U) Throughout her program in Brazil, Mrs. Bush impressed those
she met with her warmth and genuineness. She began her individual
program in Sao Paulo at the Alfasol Literacy program, where she was
hosted by Alfasol Chief Executive Officer Regina Esteves, a
participant in the 2006 White House Conference on Global Literacy in
New York City. Mrs. Bush participated in a roundtable discussion
with eleven Brazilians who represented Alfasol's innovative literacy
promotion partnerships with businesses, universities, and all levels
of government. She expressed particular interest in the program's
highly successful community engagement, measurement of
effectiveness, and use of literacy programs in penitentiaries.

SAO PAULO 00000212 003 OF 004


Immediately following the roundtable discussion, Mrs. Bush attended
a classroom demonstration where she met two of the Alfasol literacy
teachers, observed the students participating in reading and writing
activities, and heard stories of how learning to read had changed
their lives.

8. (U) Upon leaving Alfasol, Mrs. Bush traveled to Projeto
Aprendiz, an award-winning social program for at-risk youth, where
the founder and general manager provided a brief overview of the
program's "neighborhood as school" concept and introduced her to
students who are participants in the project's highly successful
college preparatory program. After watching younger children
participating in a variety of activities in the inner courtyard
(including serenades from several young musicians), she observed
older youths engage in sports activities and entered the Aprendiz
Caf where she met with five alumni who told her how the project had
changed their lives. Among the stories she heard was that of a
former street child who ended up going to college, writing a book
about her life and becoming a journalist.

9. (U) Mrs. Bush was the guest of honor at a small luncheon in the
Hilton hosted by the Brazilian First Lady Maria Leticia Lula da
Silva. Other guests included prominent Brazilian women, including
the wives of Sao Paulo Governor Jose Serra and Foreign Minister
Celso Amorim.

MEDIA COVERAGE: EXTENSIVE AND POSITIVE
---------------------------------------

10. (SBU) Mission staff worked with White House and Planalto staff
to organize media coverage of President Bush's arrival and
departure, the biofuels event, joint press availability, MOU signing
and visit to the NGO, Meninos do Morumbi. Separate arrangements
were made for the press coverage of the First Lady's program as well
as media interviews with USTR Susan Schwab and Ambassador Sobel.
The arrival, biofuels event and joint press availability were open
press; all other events were covered by a pool.

11. (SBU) The visit received extensive media coverage on a wide
variety of themes impacting U.S.-Brazil relations, although the
major focus was on Brazilian and U.S. cooperation on biofuels and
bilateral trade relations. While the press took note of the various
protests in Sao Paulo and throughout Brazil and the disruption to
local traffic, the overall coverage focused on the purpose of the
visit itself and reported on the visit as a positive event.

12. (SBU) Pre-visit local media coverage focused on the purpose of
President Bush's visit to Brazil and included various editorials,
op-eds and commentary on the United States and Brazil's trade
relationship and the role Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez may have
played in the President's decision to visit the region. Mission
placed an op-ed by Ambassador Sobel in Brazil's largest circulation
newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo, on Sunday, March 3, to both sum up
recent visits by U/S Burns and AG Gonzales and to set the scene for
the President's visit. Ambassador Sobel also did print interviews
with other major newspapers - Globo, Gazeta Mercantil, and Jornal do

SAO PAULO 00000212 004 OF 004


Brasil - on March 6 to set the stage for discussion. Other media
reported on comments by President Lula indicating that he would push
for reductions in ethanol tariffs and agricultural subsidies.
Post-visit coverage focused on the MOU signed by both Presidents,
President Lula's comments on the possibility of reaching agreement
on the Doha Round and President Chavez's parallel activities in
Argentina. Editorials and commentary contrasted the need for
investment and trade versus aid in Latin America, the value of
President Bush's visit to Brazil and the impact of the MOU. Many
articles commented on President Bush and President Lula's excellent
personal relationship. Press coverage also focused on President
Bush's statement that no change in ethanol tariffs will occur before
2009. Photos and stories of the visit to Meninos do Morumbi and the
First Lady's program were also featured.

13. (SBU) Ambassador Clifford Sobel was interviewed by four media
outlets (TV Globo and three newspapers) immediately after the
President's departure and these interviews were included in the
weekend post-visit coverage and in the March 12 edition of
economic/business newspapers. USTR Susan Schwab also interviewed
with two economic newspapers and held a post-visit press conference.
Her interviews and comments featured prominently in the March 10-12
newspapers as well.

14. (SBU) Comment: The visit of President Bush to Brazil on the
first leg of his five country visit to the Western Hemisphere
generated much positive momentum in Brazil - U.S. relations. Brazil
is a leader in biofuels research and production, and the MOU signed
between Secretary Rice and Foreign Minister Amorim opens up more
opportunities for both countries to advance a common agenda, and to
further address issues of prosperity and social justice within the
region and beyond Latin America. Future discussions are also likely
to address cooperation between the United States and Brazil on
combating malaria. The bilateral talks offered opportunities to
continue discussion on important trade issues prior to President
Lula's visit to the U.S. next month, while the President's and Mrs.
Bush's events with NGOs emphasized the importance of corporate
social responsibility programs and social inclusion programs in
advancing the benefits of democracy. Media coverage was very
positive and highlighted the optimism both presidents expressed in
future alternative biofuels collaboration and in advancing bilateral
relations. End Comment.

15. (U) This cable was coordinated with the Deputy Executive
Secretary, NSC/WHA, and Embassy Brasilia, and was approved by

SIPDIS
Ambassador Sobel.

MCMULLEN

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