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In tutto il mondo le elezioni in Usa sono sentite come proprie
di Inchiesta dell'IHT in tredici paesi, da Tokyo a L'Avana, da Berlino a New Dehli

(pagina 2)

... " said Mouhamed Souleymane Seydi, 24, a hotel-management student at the University of Dakar. "It's become much harder for Muslims to immigrate to America or even to visit. If you show up at the airport with a beard and look Arab, you're going to come under intense scrutiny."

Closer to the United States, in Mexico for instance, attention is focused more on the attitudes of candidates toward immigration controls. "There is a whole nation of Mexicans living in the United States," said Fausto Zapata, a former diplomat in Mexico City. "And the connections with relatives, friends and partners in Mexico are immense, almost gigantic. Almost any movement in the American economy affects Mexico, negatively or positively."

Some outsiders maintain that, for a world seeking a signal of a changed direction in Washington, "the emblematic victory of Obama would immediately change the image of the United States in the world, particularly in developing countries," as Jorge Castañeda, the writer and former Mexican foreign minister, put it.

But there is skepticism in some places that an African-American can actually win the presidency. "Can he win?" an Afro-Cuban cabdriver asked an American visitor in Havana. "I mean, can he win?" he asked, wondering if a black man could be elected in a land that Cubans are taught to see as riven with racism.

Curiosity about Obama is clearly behind the growing interest in the American vote in Brazil, where many citizens have African roots. Elsewhere in Latin America, expectations seem muted, particularly in Venezuela, where both supporters and foes of President Hugo Chávez seemed to look forward to the end of the Bush administration. "But we're still aware that no candidate will drastically change relations between Venezuela and the United States," said Manuel Sutherland, a representative of the pro-Chávez Bolivarian Association of Socialist Economists.

In Colombia, one of few places in the world that might have some nostalgia for the Bush era, many people seem drawn to Obama's bid. "He would focus more on the needs of immigrants, making him the best candidate for Latinos," said Ernesto Rubio, 39, a doctor in Bogotá.

In Asia, the level of interest generally seems lower, though people say they are watching. "People know the decisions of the American president will affect Indonesia, and that is why many are watching carefully the elections in the United States," said Bonar Tidor, 45, a human rights activist in Indonesia.

But in the Philippines some displayed less concern, even with the Obama-Clinton race. "In the past we always have two white men talking about strange policies," said Alex Magno, 53, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines. "But probably if they get elected it will be the same as the old white men who contested the elections before."

Reporting was contributed by Heather Timmons and Somini Sengupta from New Delhi; Victor Homola and Nicholas Kulish from Berlin; Katrin Bennhold from Paris; Chieko Tsuneoka from Tokyo; Alexei Barrionuevo from Buenos Aires; Simon Romero from Caracas, Venezuela, and Bogotá, Colombia; James McKinley Jr., Antonio Betancourt and Elisabeth Malkin from Mexico City; Marc Lacey from Havana; Julfikar Ali Manik from Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Seth Mydans from Solo, Indonesia.

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