American officials have so far been tight-lipped about what President Barack Obama plans to do in Rio de Janeiro when he visits this weekend—besides give a speech at a venue that accommodates upwards of 10,000 people. But that hasn’t stopped local news outlets from publishing rumors the president is planning a visit to the City of God, the slum made famous by a spectacularly violent 2002 film by the same name. Globo TV really ran with the story today, sending a reporter to interview residents of the neighborhood, which is now heavily-policed and largely safe.
The video won’t embed, so you’ll have to click through (and understand Portuguese) to see it. If you do, however, you’ll be treated to a piece in the same mean-spirited tradition as those comedy bits where Jay Leno finds rubes on the street who can’t answer basic questions about who’s running the country. In the video, Globo’s white, probably well-paid reporter will show you how some folks in the City of God either don’t seem to know precisely who Barack Obama is or, otherwise, don’t know he’s coming to the neighborhood soon. The second gag seems, to this viewer anyway, particularly unfair considering the fact that, when I called the U.S. Consulate here in Rio yesterday, they didn’t know either.