Friday, March 09, 2007

Will Bush Succeed at Wooing Latin Americans with His Sweet Talk?

President Bush has left for his swing through five countries in Latin America, carrying the message, “You have a friend in the United States of America,”

However, Bush is already facing protests. Reuters reported from Sao Paul, “Thousands of protesters marched through Brazil's largest city on Thursday calling President Bush a warmonger and planet polluter as he started a tour aimed at winning friends in Latin America.”

But how do the majority of Latin Americans feel about the United States? Isn’t it possible that they don’t like Bush but like us?

Sorry, folks, according to a poll released yesterday by World Public Opinion, we’re not all that well liked. A summary of the report is available here.

Here’s a quick rundown of the four countries where the survey was conducted. Of these, Bush is visiting Brazil and Mexico.

Brazil: 57 percent say they have a “mainly negative” view of the United States’ influence in the world while only 29 percent believe it is “mainly positive.”

Mexico: 53 percent look unfavorably on U.S. influence and only 12 percent favorably.

Chile: Respondents say U.S. influence is negative by a margin of 51 percent to 32 percent.

Argentina: A 64 percent hold a negative view to 13 percent who view us favorably.

The summary also reports that other polls in the three countries Bush is visiting, Uruguay, Guatemala, and Columbia, also show dissatisfaction with either the United States or President Bush.

Where’s the good news? The World Public Opinion summary, relying on a survey of opinion in 18 Latin American countries by the Chilean polling agency Latinobarómetro (in Spanish) reported “A majority of Latin Americans support democracy in principle and that support has widened considerably over the past five years. In 15 of the 18 countries polled in 2006, half or more of the respondents say democracy is ‘preferable to any other form of government.’ No country embraces the opposing idea that ‘in certain circumstances, an authoritarian government is preferable.’”

Since Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez, is going to lead an anti-Bush rally today in Argentina, we can all be glad that Bush is not going there. The Tom Toles cartoon, above, says it all.

1 comment:

John in Cincinnati said...

I imagine, Gail, that many South Americans differentiate between our government and the people here.

What's unfortunate is that I also imagine that Bush and Co. will interpret anti-Bush demonstrations as proof of the world "we" have to defend ourselves against, thus arguing FOR and even stronger posturing in the world.