Brazil is an overwhelmingly Catholic country, although certainly not what our concept of Catholic means. For one thing, they would NEVER elect a president who claims to be directed by God. The people I meet here invariably express an utter hatred for George Bush. In fact in my experiences, you would get this reaction in practically every country of the world.

Other than that, I receive only positive reactions when people hear that I am an American. They can still distinguish. People want to practice their English on me, they practically dote on me, wanting to talk about movies and films and all sorts of things American.

I´ve always considered Brazil to be sort of a mirror image of the United States. A country of over 200 million people speaking Portuguese, they are the majority of South Americans. They don´t really appreciate the occasional Spanish that creeps out of my mouth. They are proud Brazilians. And well they should be. This is a large, extremely diverse country. Like us, they are made up of many immigrant groups. The blacks are former slaves, too, although they have been freed for many more years and are much more assimilated.

When you ask them what their inheritance is, or what ethnic group they belong to, they ALWAYS answer that they are Brazilian. They don´t really have the concept of African-American or Irish or Italian slash something. They are Brazilian pure and simple.

Our continuing Europe-directed foreign policies in the United States is a big mistake. Our future is in our own hemisphere. It´s about time we started to appreciate that. This is a wonderful part of the world, a part of us, and a special part of our future.