Michelle Obama visits Mexico
Updated 2:09 p.m.
By Robin Givhan and Debbi Wilgoren
MEXICO CITY -- First lady Michelle Obama visited Mexico's presidential compound and the national anthropological museum Wednesday morning as part of a two-day trip to the United States's southern neighbor.
After making an unannounced stop in earthquake-ravaged Haiti on Tuesday, Obama arrived in Mexico's capital Tuesday night. She was greeted by a crowd of exuberant, flag-waving children and a line of diplomats.
Wednesday morning, security was tight and the streets of the usually traffic-choked capital were eerily quiet as Obama and her entourage headed to the presidential compound for a meeting with Mexican first lady Margarita Zavala.
The women spoke for about 45 minutes, and according to a White House account "discussed a series of issues of importance to young people in both the United States and Mexico, including drug addiction treatment and early prevention programs and the importance of the humane treatment of unaccompanied migrant children."
The White House statement said the first ladies "underscored the importance of engaging families and communities in tackling the challenges facing young people in both countries as a key to helping build a better future for the United States and Mexico."
Obama also visited a public elementary school and is scheduled to give a speech to area high school and college students and lead a round-table discussion with youth leaders.
The visit is Obama's first solo, official foreign trip since her husband was elected president in 2008. "Mexico is really a natural first step for me," Obama said on her plane Tuesday night, according to a video released by the White House. "The relationships that our countries have with one another are so deep and broad. So many U.S. citizens trace their roots back to Mexico."
Pool reports on the visits to the museum and school follow.
From the Post's Robin Givhan:
At the National Museum of Anthropology, the first lady gets an afternoon of artifacts and musical performances. She tours with Mrs. [Margarita] Zavala and Ambassador Alfonso de Maria y Campos, general director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Mrs. Obama wears a purple and yellow print wrap dress (Diane von Furstenberg) and yellow flats. Mrs. Zavala in an ivory shawl and pale blue skirt and sleeveless top. Ivory pumps.
Your pooler observes as the threesome survey the Aztec stone wheel on display...
The museum is laid out around a central open air courtyard, with a stunning artificial pond in the center with some sort of flora sprouting from the center.
The first ladies enter the courtyard and take in music by the National Program for the Promotion of Music which encourages artistic expression of children and young people.
Performers include: the National Children's Chorus (about 100 children some in wheelchairs, all adorable in their various uniforms) and the Carlos Chavez Youth Symphonic Orchestra. (About 40 young people. They sound quite impressive. They're cute too in their black suits and white shirts.) Some of the chorus members -- maybe 30 of them -- sign rather than sing. It's adorableness overload. One song: "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"...
No seat for the first ladies. They stand and listen to the performances. Both are in low or flat heels. Whew! They chat during the instrumental performance. Your pooler doesn't read lips so no idea what's being said.
While kids singing "Jesu", they wave and head back into museum.
Mrs. Obama on departure: "Gracias!"
From the New York Times's Marc Lacey:
There were squeals, shouts, claps and cries as Mrs. Obama entered the sweltering schoolyard of the Jan. 7 School in the Alvaro Obregon neighborhood of Mexico City. The children chanted the first lady's first name, turning it in Spanish into three syllables: Mi-che-elle, with an emphasis on the che. Banners hung from the school welcoming
her. Children put on quite a show:
--Children in white gym attire hopped around obstacles and then invited her to join in a exercise game called A Le Le Quita Tonga, in which everyone pretended to throw a ball of dough in the air. Every time in landed it got bigger and bigger til everyone was carting it on their back. You had to be there.
--Another group dressed as Aztecs, wearing white uniforms and multi-colored flowers, performed a mock ceremony involving conch shells and a black chalice.
--Children then danced to a rock song called Vuelve Primavera, come back spring.
--There was a rendition of the famous mariachi song Cielito Lindo, which caused at least one reporter to choke up as the children bellowed ''Ah, yah, yah, yah, canta, no llores.''
The first lady then offered some brief remarks: ''That was beautiful, everything you did. I loved the singing. I loved the dancing. And I loved to see you all moving and exercising.'' ...
Before she left, the first lady said, ''I need some hugs,'' and she then proceeded to give individual hugs, small group hugs and large group hugs."
Feeling left out of the love fest, the children in the upper levels shouted out, '' Come up! Come up!''
by Robin Givhan and Debbi Wilgoren
April 14, 2010; 11:56 AM ET
Categories: 44 Native , 44 The Obama Presidency , Barack Obama , Michelle Obama , The First Lady | Tags: High school, MEXICO CITY, Margarita Zavala, Mexico, Michelle Obama, President, United States, White House
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