BRASILIA, Brazil – President Bush on Sunday urged Latin Americans to reject efforts to reverse democratic progress in the region while choosing representative governments and building constructive ties with other nations.
Bush's speech in Latin America's largest nation, which has immense influence on its neighbors, did not mention any leaders by name as heading up an anti-democracy charge. But it was clear his remarks were aimed at Venezuela's leftist leader Hugo Chavez (search) and Cuba's Fidel Castro, Bush's biggest foes in the region.
"Ensuring social justice for the Americas requires choosing between two competing visions," Bush said in the Brazilian capital.
One of those choices, he said, "offers a vision of hope. It is founded on representative government, integration into the world community and a faith in the transformative power of freedom in individual lives."
The other, Bush said, "seeks to roll back the democratic process of the past two decades by playing to fear, pitting neighbor against neighbor and blaming others for their own failures to provide for the people."
Bush also continued his push for a free-trade zone for the Western Hemisphere, stretching from Alaska to Argentina. The president argues that more trade between the United States, Brazil and other nations in the Western Hemisphere would help create jobs, spread democratic values and lift people out of poverty.
"Our goal is to promote opportunity for people throughout the Americas, whether you live in Minnesota or Brazil. And the best way to do this is by expanding free and fair trade," Bush said.
He urged Brazil to use its influence to "help make this vision for the Americas a reality."
But Brazil's president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (search), was instrumental at a just-ended summit of Latin American leaders in preventing an agreement to restart stalled talks on forming such a trade bloc.
"He's got to be convinced, just like the people of America must be convinced, that a trade arrangement in our hemisphere is good for jobs, it's good for the quality of life," Bush said at a joint appearance with Silva after the two leaders met.
The division on trade among the 34 nations gathered in Argentina for the Summit of the Americas (search) came after Brazil hedged at setting a firm date for new talks. Silva said Brazil preferred to wait for worldwide trade negotiations to proceed first, a view that was shared by Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay and Paraguay.
The United States and 28 other countries supported setting a date for new, hemispheric negotiations.
Brazil and the other countries want the United States to reduce farm subsidies that they say crowd out other countries' products.
At Bush's side, Silva repeated his view that resolving those issues through separate negotiations for a global trade deal — known as the Doha round — must come first.
"We agree that the reduction, with a view toward the elimination, of agricultural subsidies will be a key to balance," he said.
Though postponing the hemispheric talks was not how Bush wanted to proceed, he seemed to accept Silva's approach.
"The president said, 'Let's work together on Doha and see how that goes and we'll continue working on the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas,'" Bush said after their meeting. "Such an agreement will not be done if the president thinks it's (not) in the interest of the people."
In his speech, Bush said he agreed with Brazil on agricultural subsidies and that the U.S. is "leading the way" by promising to cut them. He urged others, such as the European Union, to follow suit.
"Only an ambitious reform agenda in agriculture and manufactured goods and services can ensure that the benefits of fair and free trade are enjoyed by all people in all countries," he said.
As Bush's motorcade passed the entrance to the Granja do Torto presidential retreat where he met with Silva and was treated to Brazilian barbecue, about 150 demonstrators shouted "Fora Bush" — which means "Get out Bush." They burned a small effigy of Bush while chanting "Bush fascist, you are a terrorist."
Elsewhere in Brasilia, about 40 students peacefully occupied a McDonald's, saying they had come to "one of the symbols of capitalism" to protest Bush's visit.
At Bush's meeting with a group of young leaders, Carlos Pio, a professor of international relations at the University of Brasilia, asked Bush to respond to some Latin Americans' belief that the United States exploits democracies, markets and civil rights.
Congressman Joao Batista de Oliveira Araujo also said Sunday that by inviting Bush, Silva "showed how subservient he is to the Americans."
Bush and Silva met as both are dealing with scandals that have involved top aides and driven down the leaders' popularity.
White House adviser I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was recently indicted on charges of perjury and obstructing justice and top aide Karl Rove is under investigation for his role in revealing the identity of an undercover CIA agent. Top Silva aides have resigned in a kickback scandal.