Bush not welcomed in South America

53% of South Americans described their perception of the U.S. leader as "bad" or "very bad"
The US President is expected to visit Argentina in November to attend to the Fourth Summit of the Americas, but a majority of South Americans have a negative opinion of him.

If everything goes as early confirmed, in November US President George W. Bush's will arrive in the Argentine resort of Mar del Plata to attend to a hemispherical meeting. However, Mr. Bush should not expect a warm welcome, as 53% of South Americans described their perception of the U.S. leader as "bad" or "very bad", according to an opinion survey released this week.

Many of the 2,362 people polled in four capitals disagree with the Bush administration's "war on terror" and feel the U.S. government is out of touch with the region's woes like corruption, poverty and drug trafficking, said David Alvarez, a political scientist who organized the survey. "Latin Americans feel that (terror) issues are not the biggest problems facing our region," Alvarez said. "There is a big difference in the terrorist vision and the social problems many feel are plaguing Latin America."

But the situation in Argentina, where anti-Summit of the Americas activists are preparing demonstrations against the presence of Mr. Bush - the Hitler of the 21st century as they called him -, could be even worse. The survey - conducted in the capital cities of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay - showed that Buenos Aires ranked as the city where Bush is most unpopular, with six out of ten Argentines saying they disapproved of him.

On the contrary, residents in the Chilean capital of Santiago had the most favorable opinion of Bush, the poll showed - 19 percent approved of Bush and 40 percent rejected him. Bush visited Santiago last year to attend an APEC summit, but his relatively good level of popularity he enjoys among Chileans was not enough to prevent protesters to rally against him.

"Bush, fascist, you are the terrorist", chanted an authorized anti-Bush demonstration in Buenos Aires last week. Protesters blamed Argentine President Nestor Kirchner for welcoming Mr. Bush to Argentina. Bigger protests are expected to occur in Buenos Aires during the next months, as the time for Bush's visit gets closer.

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Author`s name Olga Savka