Much of Mexico has Obama-mania

MEXICO CITY Mexico City is the world's second-largest city and sits an elevation of a mile-and-a-half up. That's still not high enough to escape some tremendous problems -- violent drug cartels, immigration and a waning economy.

When /*President Barack Obama*/ arrives on Thursday, he will find a country where many citizens already respect the new U.S. commander in chief.

"We like him very, very much," said Mexico City native Beatrize Canale. "He has charisma, he's handsome, he's intelligent, he's like a hope to everybody, no?"

Canale and her husband have been married for 42 years. They were born in Mexico City and have lived there all their lives. They're saddened by the violent place their city and country have become, but Obama makes them hopeful. He's already proven to this couple that he can break through barriers.

"Everybody could be the President in the United States," said Canale. "Whatever color or religion or background, no? That's wonderful."

The fact that Obama is breaking down racial barriers is part of what makes him popular there.

"Obama we feel represents our interests as a minority member," said journalist Ana Perez. "So we feel very happy that he's coming to visit Mexico City."

Perez says there are high hopes Obama can do more for her people than the last administration.

"/*President Bush*/ showed a lack of determination in the issues that concern us -- drugs and immigration reform," said Perez. "So we think Obama can maybe make a difference."

Top-rated radio host /*Federico Lamont*/ offers political commentary to his 1.5 million listeners, and he is certainly behind our new President.

"We all Mexicans - all of the Mexicans - trust Obama," said Lamont. "In Obama, we all Mexicans trust."

That enthusiasm could quickly change to disappointment if Barack Obama leaves on Friday with very little progress. Mexican citizens say they need change, and they need it now.



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