Thursday, April 16, 2009

¡Bienvenidos Presidente Obama!

Barack Obama is in Mexico City today, and the NY Times is reporting that it's the first time in 12 years that an American president has visited el DF.

Seriously, W? Led the country for 8 years and you couldn't even visit the neighbors? Actually, according to the Times article, other presidents have visited Mexico. They're just choosy about where they go. From the article:

That Mr. Obama is visiting the capital is particularly significant, said Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a policy organization in Washington. Other leaders have visited Mexican resort communities, but Mr. Selee said Mr. Obama “really wanted to be seen going to the heart of the country, where the people are.”

Anyway, because of this much-anticipated event, both the American and Mexican press are publishing lots of stuff about each other. One of our favorite online magazines, Slate, just put out a collection of pieces about Mexico that are all worth reading. Check out the collection here. The best article, called "Distant Neighbors" is about the misunderstandings and mistaken perceptions that each country holds about the other. We highly recommend it. (For those that have already visited us - and for those that are coming soon! - there's a reference to the infamous randomizing "button" you have to push to enter the country. "Green, you're good to go; red, open your bags...")

The Mexican press is excited, too. TV news is providing extensive coverage of the massive security detail accompanying the President through Mexico City, and the print newspaper Reforma features the headline "Todos Quieren Ser... Obama" ("Everyone Wants to Be... Obama") with a large color photo of a dude making latex Obama masks. Way to bring the hard news, Reforma, way to bring the hard news.

In fairness, below the attention-grabbing photo, Reforma features an article about marijuana legalization, an issue many Latin American leaders are talking about with some seriousness these days. It's a gutsy topic - or at least it would be in the States - and its one the NY Times didn't touch in its coverage.

And that concludes our news roundup for the day. Hasta mañana...

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