March 12, 2007
Of Presidents and Hugging
Brazil is a hugging society. I love that about Brazil. Handshakes are almost always accompanied by a hug, or at least a pat on the shoulder or stomach. Hugging is an art which Brazilians have mastered, while Americans struggle with their "private space".
Which makes the following picture all the more curious.
Here we have the American President (George W. Bush) and the Brazilian President (Luís Inácio "Lula" da Silva) engaged in an embrace, and Bush is obviously more comfortable with it than Lula.
My personal opinion, after seeing news reports and articles about Bush's recent visit here, is that Lula found himself in a position he never dreamed he would encounter--that of being the favorite of Washington among Latin America's presidents.
The expression on his face seems to ask "How did this happen to me?"
Bush, on the other hand, is living it up. He loves the fact that the more he and Lula hug, the more Lula's own party screams bloody murder. He loves the idea of Hugo Chavez (who's name he never mentioned, even when prodded by reporters) looking at that picture.
Or this one:
If Chavez is upset by Lula's proximity to Bush (indeed, in a few weeks Lula will be the first Latin American president to stay at Camp David since 1991), he has only himself to blame. Chavez' heavy hand in Boliva and the rest of Latin America, his screaming hissy-fits during Bush's visit, and his unnerving rhetoric are driving Lula and the rest of Latin America--even the left-leaning countries--to hedge their bets and seek stronger ties with Washington.
Publius Pundit--from whence I got these pictures--has this to say:
Meanwhile, as Bush gets his footing, Chavez is losing his, making a screaming fool of himself as he follows Bush around at impromptu hastily thrown together events, flying from country to country, always on the outside, looking in, and wanting the camera attention. These acts are all pratfalls and make him seem desperate. [H]ow embarassing.
And Bush just sails on, enjoying his adventure without a thought of the jealous Chavez as he visits the countries on his tour. Chavez, by contrast, is scheming like Wile-E-Coyote, hoping to outsmart Meester Boosh once again. What an idiot.
Read the whole article if you are interested in a good perspective on Bush's recent visit.
And happy hugging!
Posted by Andrew on March 12, 2007 8:01 AM.