Dilma Rousseff: Wikis


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Her Excellency
 Dilma Rousseff
Portrait of Dilma Rousseff

Assumed office 
June 21, 2005
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Preceded by José Dirceu

In office
January 1, 2003 – June 21, 2005
President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Preceded by Francisco Luiz Sibut Gomide
Succeeded by Silas Rondeau

Born December 14, 1947 (1947-12-14) (age 62)
Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
Birth name Dilma Vana Rousseff Linhares
Nationality Brazilian
Political party Workers' Party
Spouse(s) Cláudio Magalhães
Carlos Araújo
Children Paula Rousseff Araújo
Residence Brasília, Brazil
Alma mater Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)
Profession Economist
Religion Roman Catholic
Website Casa Civil

Dilma Vana Rousseff Linhares (born December 14, 1947) is a Brazilian economist and politician. She is a member of the Worker's Party and was appointed as Chief of Staff by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2005, becoming the first female to assume the position.

Raised in an upper middle class household in Belo Horizonte, Dilma became interested in socialism during her youth, following the 1964 coup d'état. She soon joined organizations that performed underground activities against the military dictatorship. Her level of involvement in these organizations is highly controversial. After finally being captured, she spent almost three years in jail, between 1970 and 1972, where she claims to have been "brutally tortured."

After her release, Dilms rebuilt her life in Rio Grande do Sul with Carlos Araújo, who would be her partner for 30 years. Both helped establish the Democratic Labour Party in the state, participating in several of the party's electoral campaigns. She became the Secretary of Treasury of Porto Alegre during the Alceu Collares administration, and later the Secretary of Energy of Rio Grande do Sul on both Collares and Olívio Dutra administrations. In 2000, after an internal dispute, she left the Democratic Labour Party and joined the Worker's Party.

In 2002, Dilma joined the committee responsible for writing the energy plan for then candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, leading to an invitation to become his Minister of Energy. In 2005, a political crisis triggered by a corruption scandal led to the resignation of Chief of Staff José Dirceu. Dilma was then invited as a replacement, remaining in this position after the president's successful reelection campaign.



Childhood and youth

Dilma Rousseff was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais on December 14, 1947 to Bulgarian Brazilian lawyer and entrepreneur Pedro Rousseff (born Pétar Russév, Bulgarian: Петър Русев)[1][2] and housewife Dilma Jane Silva.[3] Her father was a friend of the Nobel Prize-nominated Bulgarian poet Elisaveta Bagriana[4] and, as an active member of the Bulgarian Communist Party in the 1920s,[5] had to flee from Bulgaria in 1929 due to political persecution, settling in France. He arrived in Brazil in the 1930s, already widowed (he left behind his son Luben, who died in 2007), but soon moved to Buenos Aires. He returned to Brazil several years later, settling in São Paulo, where he succeeded in business. Pétar Russév, a tall blonde blue-eyed man, adapted his first name to Portuguese and the last to French. During a trip to Uberaba, he met Dilma Jane Silva, a young schoolteacher born in Nova Friburgo and raised in Minas Gerais, where her parents were ranchers. The two got married and settled in Belo Horizonte, where they had three children: Igor, Dilma Vana, and Zana Lúcia (who died in 1977).[5]

Dilma Rousseff at a press conference in 2009.

Pedro Roussef was a contractor for Mannesmann steel, in addition to building and selling real estate. The family lived in a large house, served by three employees, maintaining European habits. The children had a classical education, and both piano and French lessons. After Pedro defeated the initial resistance of the local community to accept foreigners, the family began to attend the traditional clubs and schools (Dilma was enrolled in Colégio Sion, a boarding school for girls where the students spoke primarily in French with their teachers). Encouraged by her father, Dilma acquired an early taste for reading. Pedro died in 1962, bequeathed around 15 properties.[5]

Rousseff in 2009.

In 1965, at age 15, Dilma left the conservative Colégio Sion and joined the Central State High School, a co-ed public school where the students would usually make a great stir aginst the dictatorship established after the military coup. According to Dilma, it was in this school that she became aware of the political situation of her country, getting "very subversive" and realizing that "the world was not a place for débutantes." In 1967 she joined the Worker's Politics (Portuguese: Política Operária - POLOP), an organization founded in 1961 as a faction of the Brazilian Socialist Party. Its members soon found themselves divided over the method to be used for the implementation of socialism, while some supported the struggle for the election of a constituent assembly, others preferred the armed struggle. Dilma joined the the second group, which originated the Command of National Liberation (Portuguese: Comando de Libertação Nacional - COLINA). According to Apolo Heringer, who was the leader of COLINA in 1968 and taught Marxism to Dilma in high school, she chose the armed struggle after she read Revolution inside the Revolution by Régis Debray, a Frenchman who had moved to Cuba and became a personal friend of Fidel Castro. Heringer says that "the book inflamed everybody, including Dilma."[5]

During that period, Dilma met Cláudio Galeno Linhares, five years older than her, who also supported the armed struggle. Galeano, who had joined POLOP on 1962, had served in the Army, participated in the uprising of the sailors during the military coup and was arrested in Ilha das Cobras. They married in 1968 in a civil ceremony, after just one year of dating.[5]

Guerrilla activity

Yeda Crusius, Lula, Dilma Rousseff, and Jaime Ardila, president of General Motors of Brazil.


Like her fellow militant men, Dilma had great leadership skills, managing to impose herself among men accustomed to give orders. She did not participate actively on any of the armed efforts of COLINA, as she was known for her public activities as a Marxism teacher to labour union members and editor of the newspaper The Piquet. Nevertheless, she learned how to handle weapons and confront the police.[5]

In early 1969, the Minas Gerais branch of COLINA was limited to a dozen militants, with little money and few weapons. Its activities had boiled down to four bank robberies, some stolen cars and two bombings, with no casualties. On January 14, however, after the arrest of some militants during a bank robbery, the rest of them gathered to debate what they would do in order to release them from jail. At dawn, the police invaded the group's house and the militants responded by using a machine gun, which killed two policemen and wounded another.[5]

Dilma and Galeno then began to sleep each night on a different location, since their apartment was visited by one of the leaders of the organization that had been arrested. They had to go back to their home hidden in order to destroy the organization's documents. On March 1969, the apartment was invaded by the police, but no document was found. They stayed in Belo Horizonte for a few more weeks trying to reoganize what was left of COLINA, but had to avoid their parents' houses, aware that they were being watched by the military (Dilma's family had no knowledge of her participation on underground activities). In addition to that, Galeno had to undergo a facial plastical surgery or similar procedure (although he denies) after a sketch of him was released for participating on a bank robbery. Unable to remain on the city, the organization ordered them to move to Rio de Janeiro. Dilma was 21 and had just finished her fourth semester at the Minas Gerais Federal University Economics School.[5]

Lula and Dilma during an event of the PAC.

The amount of people from Minas Gerais on the Rio de Janeiro faction of COLINA was wide (including former Belo Horizonte mayor Fernando Pimentel, 18 years old at the time), with the organization having no infrastructure to shelter all of them. Dilma and Galeno stayed for a brief period in the house of an aunt of Dilma, which thought that the couple was in Rio on vacation. Later they moved to a small hotel and then to an apartment, until Galeno was sent by the organization to Porto Alegre. Dilma remained in Rio, where she helped the organization, attending meetings and transporting weapons and money. At one of these meetings, she met the Rio Grande do Sul-born lawyer Charles Franklin Paixão de Araujo, who was then 31 years old; they developed a sudden crush for each other. Araújo was head of a dissent group of the Brazilian Communist Party (Portuguese: Partido Comunista Brasileiro - PCB) and sheltered Galeano in Porto Alegre. The break up with Galeno was peaceful. As Galeano said, "in that difficult situation, we had no perspective of forming a regular couple."[5]

Araújo was the son of a prominent labor defense lawyer and had joined the PCB early. He had traveled through Latin America (having met Castro and Che Guevara) and had been imprisoned for several months in 1964. He joined the armed struggle after the issue of AI-5 by the dictatorship in 1968. On early 1969, he began to discuss the merger of his group with COLINA and Popular Revolutionary Vanguard (Portuguese: Vanguarda Popular Revolucionária - VPR), led by Carlos Lamarca. Dilma attended some meetings about the merger, which was formalized in two conferences in Mongaguá, leading to the creation of Revolutionary Armed Vanguard Palmares (Portuguese: Vanguarda Armada Revolucionária Palmares - VAR Palmares). Dilma and Araújo attended these conferences, as well as Lamarca, which thought that Dilma was a "stuck-up intellectual." His perception was based on her defense of a revolution through the political engagement of the working class, in opposition to VPR's military-based sense of revolution.[5]

VAR Palmares

Carlos Araújo was chosen as one of the six leaders of VAR Palmares, which claimed to be a "political-military organization of Marxist-Leninist partisan orientation which aims to fulfill the tasks of the revolutionary war and the establishment of the working class party, in order to seize power and build socialism."[5]

As Maurício Lopes Lima, a former member of the Operação Bandeirantes (OBAN) search force (a structure which included the intelligence and torture services of the Armed Forces), declared, Dilma was the main leader of VAR Palmares. According to him, he received reports defining her as "one of the brains" of the revolutionary schemes. Police commissioner Newton Fernandes, which investigated the clandestine organization in São Paulo and drawed the profile of dozens of their members, said that Dilma was one of the head masters of the revolutionary schemes. The attorney which prosecuted the organization called her "Joan of Arc of subversion", saying that she led strikes and advised bank robberies.[6] Dilma ridicules such comparison, stating that she does not even remember about much of the actions attributed to her.[7] She was also dubbed as "the she-pope of subversion", "political criminal", and "female figure of sadly notable aspect."[5]

Carlos Minc, which was also a VAR Palmares militant, denied Dilma's role as head of the clandestine organization.

Dilma would have been the head of the theft of a safe belonging to former governor of São Paulo Ademar de Barros (considered by the guerrilla fighters as a symbol of corruption). The action was carried out on June 18, 1969 in Rio de Janeiro, and resulted in the subtraction of 2.5 million U.S. dollars.[8] It became the most spectacular and profitable action of the armed struggle.[5] Carlos Minc, which was among the militants which raided the house of the alleged mistress of the former governor, has denied the participation of Dilma in the event, saying that the widespread version that she was the leader of the organization is rather exaggerated, since she was merely a member of no distinction. On at least three different occasions Dilma herself also denied participating in the event.[9][10] Testimonials and police reports indicated that Dilma was responsible of managing the money of the robbery, paying the salaries of the militants, finding a shelter for the group, and buying a Volkswagen Beetle. Dilma remembers only of purchasing the car, and doubts that she was the one responsible for managing the money.[11][12]

In 1969, VAR Palmares would have planned the kidnapping of Antônio Delfim Netto, a symbol of the "Brazilian Miracle" and the most powerful civilian in the federal government at the time. This alleged plan should have been carried out in December, as mentioned in the book Os Carbonários, written by Alfredo Sirkis in 1981. Antonio Roberto Espinosa, former head of both VPR and VAR Palmares, would have said that Dilma was one of the five members of the organization's leadership aware of it. The kidnap did not took place because the members of the organization were captured just weeks before. Dilma emphatically denies that she was aware of the plan and doubts that anyone involved really remembers about it. She also said that Espinosa fantasized about the event.[11][12] After learning about the quotes that were being attributed to him, Espinosa said that he never stated that Dilma knew about the plan, which was rapid and vague. He said that Dilma never participated or planned any paramilitary actions; she always had only a political militancy.[13][14][15][16][17]

Even with large amounts of money, the organization failed to maintain its unity. At a conference held in Teresópolis between August and September 1969, there was a major dispute among those who supported the armed struggle and who advocated working with the masses. Dilma was in the second group. While the first group split into the paramilitary VPR, led by Lamarca, the second (joined by Dilma) continued as VAR Palmares. There was a dispute over the money and weapons.[5]

After the split, Dilma was sent to São Paulo, where she was in charge to keep safe the the weapons of her group. Avoiding keeping them in apartments without the necessary safeness, she and a friend (Maria Celeste Martins, which would become her Chief of Staff assistant decades later) moved to a simple boarding house in the eastern zone of the city, with shared bathroom, where they would hide the weapons under their beds.[5]


José Olavo Leite Ribeiro, who met three times a week with Dilma, was captured by the military. As Ribeiro reported, after a day of torture, he revealed the place where he would meet with another militant, in a bar on Rua Augusta. On January 16, 1970, he was forced to go to the bar accompanied by undercover policemen, where his colleague was captured and, when they were preparing to leave, Dilma unexpectedly arrived. Realizing that something was wrong, Dilma tried to leave the place without being noticed. The officers suspected Dilma and searched her, discovering that she was armed. "If it was not for the gun, it is possible that she could have escaped", says Ribeiro.[5]

Dilma was taken to the OBAN headquarters, the same place were Vladimir Herzog would be tortured to death five years later. She was allegedly tortured for 22 days by punching, ferule, and electric shock devices.[18] As Maria Luisa Belloque, a cellmate, said "Dilma was shock even with car wiring." Some military sees Dilma's account with irony and disbelief, saying that no one could survive to 22 uninterrupted days of torture.[19] Later, Dilma denounced the torture she suffered in court proceedings, citing even the names of those who tortured her, such as Army Captain Benoni de Arruda Albernaz, mentioned by several other witnesses. Although she revealed the locations of some militants during torture interrogation, Dilma managed to preserve the identities of Carlos Araújo (which would be arrested several months later) and Maria Celeste Martins.[5] Dilma's name was on a list found at Carlos Lamarca's home, where were listed the prisoners who would get priority in exchange for hostages, but she was never exchanged and served her role well.[20]

Carlos Araújo was arrested on August 12, 1970. After Dilma was captured, he had an affair with actress and fellow militant Bete Mendes. After his arrest, he met Dilma on some occasions, during displacements regarding the military lawsuits both were being persecuted for. They were even a few months in the same prison in São Paulo, where during conjugal visits they reconciled, planning to resume married life after being released from jail.[5] Dilma was convicted in first instance to six years in prison. She had already served three years when the Supreme Military Court reduced her sentence to two years and a month. She also had her political rights suspended for eighteen years.[21]

In December 2006, the Special Commission for Reparation of the Human Rights Office for the State of Rio de Janeiro approved a request for indemnification by Dilma and eighteen other prisoners in law enforcement agencies of the São Paulo state government in the 1970s.[22] In her request, a pivotal witness was Vânia Abrantes, who was in the same police car that transferred her from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro (Vânia was Araújo's girlfriend when he and Dilma began to date).[5] Dilma also requested compensation in the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, since she was arrested in São Paulo but taken to inquiry in Juiz de Fora and Rio de Janeiro. She also seeks indemnification from the federal government. The total compensation figure can get to 72,000 reais. As her advisors has declared, however, the indemnification has a symbolic character to her, and Dilma demanded the requests to be tried only after her departure from public office.[21]

On April 5, 2009, Folha de S. Paulo published, on its front page, an alleged criminal record of Dilma containing notes about various crimes allegedly committed by her. The document would have been part of the file of the Department of Political and Social Order (Portuguese: Departamento de Ordem Política e Social - DOPS), the military regime's political police. Dilma questioned the veracity of the file, claiming that it was a forged document, which led the newspaper to declare that it did not obtained the document from DOPS' file, but rather via an e-mail and, thus, can not guarantee its veracity.[23][24][25][26]

Life in Porto Alegre

Dilma left jail at the end of 1972; she was twenty pounds thinner and acquired a thyroid disease.[27] She spent some time with her family in Minas Gerais in order to recover, visited an aunt in São Paulo, and then moved to Porto Alegre, where Carlos Araújo was finishing the last months of his sentence. She stayed in her in laws' house, from where they could see the prison where Araújo was. Dilma frequently visited her partner, giving him newspapers and even political books disguised as novels. The Presídio da Ilha das Pedras Brancas was deactivated, and Araújo fulfilled the remainder of his sentence in the Presídio Central. The prominent lawyer Afrânio Araújo, Carlos' father, died in June 1974, prompting his friends to pressure the regime for the release of Carlos, which happened just a week later.[5][27]

Punished for subversion in accordance with the decree number 477, considered the AI-5 of universities, Dilma was expelled from the Minas Gerais Federal University and barred from resuming her studies at that university in 1973[28]. She decided to attend a preparatory course in order to take the vestibular test for Economics at the Rio Grande do Sul Federal University. She was admitted in the University and graduated in 1977, this time not participating actively in the student's movement. That same year, in March, she gave birth to her only child, daughter Paula Rousseff Araújo. After graduation, she got her first paid job after serving her prison sentence as an intern at the Foundation of Economics and Statistics (Portuguese: Fundação de Economia e Estatística - FEE), an organization linked to the government of Rio Grande do Sul.[27]

Her political activism, this time within the law, was resumed at the Institute of Social and Political Studies (Portuguese: Instituto de Estudos Políticos e Sociais - IEPES) linked to the only legalized opposition party, the Democratic Movement. Even though she was not affiliated with the party, Dilma organized debates at the institute, which received lectures from scholars such as Francisco de Oliveira, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, and Francisco Weffort. In 1976 Dilma and Araújo worked in the campaign of Glênio Peres, a MDB candidate for the city council. Although elected, Peres' term was revoked for denouncing the regime's torture in a speech. In November 1977, Dilma was reported by the newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo as one of the 97 "subversives" infiltrated in the public administration. The list was made by resigned Army Minister, Silvio Frota, who had summarized the political background of those he listed. Dilma, characterized as a COLINA and VAR Palmares militant "cohabitating with the subversive Carlos Araújo", was discharged from her job at the FEE, being pardoned later.[27]

In 1978, Dilma attended the Campinas State University, with the intention of receiving a master's degree in Economics. At that time, she began attending a discussion group fromed by other VAR Palmares former members, such as Rui Falcão, Antonio Roberto Espinosa, and eventually Carlos Araújo. Meeting once every three months, the group lasted a couple of years. They would read the works of Karl Marx, Nicos Poulantzas, and Louis Althusser, discussing what would be the right moment to resume their political activity. Dilma declared that she "attended the master's degree program", but did not finished it, failing to present her thesis. "That's why I returned to university to pursue a doctorate. And then I became minister and did not finished the doctorate", she said. Her academic credentials have been the subject of controversy as her official biography listed these master and doctoral degrees she had never earned. She was, however, twice enrolled in the graduate program in economics at the State University of Campinas, without ever fulfilling the requirements for those degrees.[29]

Political career

Rousseff and Lula meeting Barack Obama in the White House on March 14, 2009.

With the end of the mandatory two-party system, in the early 1980s, Dilma participated, along with Carlos Araújo, in Leonel Brizola's efforts for restructuring the Brazilian Labor Party (of social-democratic President João Goulart, overthrown by the 1964 coup). After the Supreme Electoral Court gave the name registry to the group linked to Ivete Vargas (Getúlio Vargas' niece), Dilma and the group linked to Brizola founded the Democratic Labour Party (Portuguese: Partido Democrático Trabalhista - PDT).[27] Araújo was elected state deputy three times for this party, in 1982, 1986, and 1990. He was also the party's candidate for Porto Alegre mayor twice, losing to Workers' Party members Olívio Dutra in 1988, and Tarso Genro in 1992. Dilma got her second job in the mid-1980s as an adviser for the PDT members of the Rio Grande do Sul Legislative Assembly.[27]

Municipal Secretary of Treasury

Dilma and Araújo devoted themselves to Alceu Collares' campaign for mayor of Porto Alegre in 1985. Much of his campaign and government plan was prepared at their home. After elected, Collares appointed Dilma as the Municipal Secretary of Treasury; this was her first job in the Executive branch. According to Collares, Araújo influenced him on Dilma's appointment, but her competence also contributed on his choice.[27]

In the gubernatorial campaign of fellow PDT member Aldo Pinto in 1986, Dilma had an advising role. Pinto's running mate was Nelson Marchezan, one of the most prominent civilians during the Brazilian military government. A candidacy defeated by the PMDB candidate Pedro Simon. Twenty years later, in an interview, Dilma Rousseff attempted to justify the controversial alliance: "Marchezan was a leader of the dictatorship, but he was never an 'enragé' ["enraged" in French]. The Marchezan wing was the wing of the radicalized small [rural] owners. And he was an ethical guy".[27]

Dilma remained as Treasury Secretary until 1988, when she stepped out to dedicate herself in Araújo's campaign for mayor of Porto Alegre. She was replaced by Políbio Braga, which says that Dilma persuaded him not to take office. She would have said that she could "not control these crazy people" and that she was leaving "before it taints my biography". While Collares remembers Dilma as an example of competence and public transparency, Braga disagrees, stating that "she did not even leave us a single report, and the Treasury Secretary was a chaos."[27]

Araújo's defeat jettisoned the PDT of the local executive branch. In 1989, however, Dilma was appointed director-general of the City Council, but was dismissed by councilman Valdir Fraga, president of the local legislature, after arriving late for work. As Fraga later said, "I dismissed her because she had a problem with the clock."[27]

State Secretary of Energy

Dilma Rousseff.

In 1990, Alceu Collares was elected Governor, appointing Dilma as president of the FEE, where she had been an intern in the 1970s. She remained in office until the end of 1993, when she was appointed Secretary of Energy and Communication through the influence of Carlos Araújo and his group. She remained in office until the end of 1994, the same time when her relationship with Araújo had ended, shaken by the discovery that another woman was pregnant with his child, Rodrigo (born in 1995). They later reconciled and remained together until 2000, when Dilma moved alone to a rented apartment.[27]

In 1995, after the end of Collares' term, Dilma departed from her political office and returned to the FEE, where she was the editor of the magazine Economic Indicators (Portuguese: Indicadores Econômicos). It was during this break from public offices that she officially enrolled in Campinas State University PhD program, in 1998. That same year, the Workers' Party won the Rio Grande do Sul gubernatorial election with the support of PDT in the second round. Once again she was appointed Secretary of Energy, this time by Governor Olívio Dutra. As he later recalled, "I already knew and respected her. I also appointed her because she was in a more left-leaning stance inside the PDT, less populist."[27]

During the first year of the Dutra administration, the PDT had gained some high-ranking offices, but Brizola felt that his party had very little space in the government, responsible for a tiny portion of the budget. Unable to get more space inside the administration, PDT members of the government were pressured by the party leadership to step down. The formation of the political alliance for the 2000 Porto Alegre mayoral election was also a cause of friction among the two parties. They ended up launching each own a different candidate; PDT's was Collares and PT's was Tarso Genro. Dilma defended the maintenance of the alliance which had elected Dutra, supporting Genro's candidacy, and claiming she would not accept "neoliberal alliances with the right-wing". Her critics said that she was being hypocritical, once she defended an alliance with Marchezan in the 1986 election. Genro defeated Collares in the second round and Dilma, among other fellow PDT members, joined the Workers' Party. Brizola accused them of being traitors.[27]

During Dilma's management of the Secretary of Energy in the Dutra administration, the service capacity of the electricity sector rose by 46%.[27] due to an emergency program attended by state and private companies. In January 1999, Dilma traveled to Brasília in order to alert the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration that if the authorities responsible for the power sector would not made more investments in generation and transmission of energy, the power cuts that Rio Grande do Sul faced early in her administration would take place in the rest of the country[30]. Therefore, the electricity crisis at the end of the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration affected millions of Brazilians, with the exception of those from the three southern states, where a rationing was not imposed, as there was no drought. There were, however, a voluntary energy saving, and Dilma tried to obtain a compensation from the federal government, like it was granted to other regions. The federal government did not granted it, and so Dilma made a compromise with the private sector. According to Pedro Parente, Chief of Staff during the Cardoso administration, "she was pragmatic, objective and showed that she had a fluid dialogue with the business sector."[27]

Minister of Energy

The issues related to the area of energy on the government plan of candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva were discussed in meetings coordinated by physicist and nuclear engineer Luiz Pinguelli Rosa. Another highlighted member of the group was Ildo Sauer. Both of them were completely opposed to the privatization of the sector, which was, in their opinion, responsible for the energy problems that the country was facing. Pinguelli invited Dilma to join the group meetings in June 2001, where she arrived as a shy participant in a team formed by several professors, but soon stood out with her objectivity and good knowledge of the area. However, it was clear for everyone in the group that Pinguelli would become the Minister of Energy if Lula won the election.[27]

It was a great surprise for everyone that, after elected, Lula chose Dilma as the incumbent Minister. The President elect declared: "Already near 2002, it appears there a comrade with a little computer in her hand. We started debating and I realized she had a differential characteristic from the others who were there, because she came in with the practicality of the assignment of running the Secretary of Energy of Rio Grande do Sul. Then I was like: I think I found my Minister here."[27] Another factor which would have weighed heavily on Lula's choice was the sympathy that Antonio Palocci had for Dilma, recognizing that she would have a much easier dialogue with the private sector than Pinguelli, in addition to her support of the Carta aos Brasileiros (English: Letter to the Brazilian People), agreeing with several market friendly changes in the Workers' Party. Dutra said he was consulted by Lula, and praised Dilma's technical merits while Secretary of Energy during his administration. "I could have weighted the scale in her favor at that time, but from the transition government forward the merit is all hers", he recalled. After her appointment, she became very close to José Dirceu, appointed by Lula as the new Chief of Staff of Brazil.[27]

Her management of the Ministry was marked by the respect of contracts made by the previous administration, by her efforts to prevent further blackouts and by the implementation of an electric model less concentrated in the hands of the state, differently from what Rosa and Sauer desired. Regarding the free market of energy, Dilma not only kept it as she expanded it as well. José Luiz Alquéres, president of Light S.A., praised the approach taken by Dilma, which is, accordind to him, helping the segment as a whole. He criticized, however, the delay in the implementation of the new model, but said that this is the fault of the bureaucratic government machinery. Convinced that urgent investments in power generation were required so that the country would not face a general blackout in 2009, Dilma entered in a serious clash with then Minister of Environment, Marina Silva, which defended the embargo on several construction sites, concerned with the ecological imbalance that they could cause. Dirceu had to create a team of mediators between the two ministers in order to try to resolve their disputes.[31]

A close friend of Lula, Pinguelli was appointed as president of Eletrobrás, and found himself at odds with Dilma on several occasions, considering an early resignation once. He was ironic about Dilma's alleged mood swings, being quoted as saying that "this lady formats her disk every week." Pinguelli eventually left the federal government on 2004. Mauricio Tolmasquim, a member of the transition government which shared a vision of the energy sector similar to Dilma's, was invited by her to be the executive secretary of the ministry. He stated that once they got to know each other better, Dilma started shouting with him occasionally. "It's her way. It's not personal. And in five minutes everything is okay", he said. Sauer, who took over the gas and energy department of Petrobras, also clashed with the minister, who repulsed his ideas of a statist model. Sometimes the clashes between them were so serious that Lula's intervention was necessary. Sauer left the state oil company in 2007. Another one which had disagreements with the minister on energy issues was the former Congressman Luciano Zica. For him, "Dilma is the most democratic person in the world, as long as you agree 100% with her."[27] He recently left PT and joined the Green Party along with Marina Silva.

After becoming a Minister, Dilma defended a new industrial policy from the government, ensuring that Petrobras' platforms had a minimum domestic content, what could generate 30 thousand new jobs in the country. She argued that it was unthinkable that a billion dollar building was not being made in Brazil.[32] The bids for the P-51 and P-52 platforms were then the first in the country to require a minimum domestic content.[33] The requirement was heavily criticized, on the grounds that it would increase the costs of Petrobras,[34] but Dilma defended the country's ability to produce ships and platforms, stating that the nationalization rates of the platforms, which varied between 15% and 18% rose to more than 60% after the requirement.[35] Lula acknowledged that, from the perspective of the company, the costs did in fact got higher, but that Petrobras should not only target the immediate costs, but also the strengthening of national science and technologies.[36] In 2008, the shipbuilding industry as a whole employed 40 thousand people, compared to 500 people in the mid-90s, in part because of the nationalization requirement.[37] Brazil now has the 6th largest shipping industry in the world.[38]

Luz para Todos program

Lula and Dilma.

Dilma proposed to accelerate the goals of universalizing the access to electricity, which had a deadline of 2015, suggesting that 1.4 million rural households would get electricity access until 2006. She argued that it was a social inclusion goal that should be a part of Fome Zero, and it was not possible to assume that such program would give financial return. During the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, a similar program, called Luz no Campo (English: Rural Electrification), was created to encourage agribusiness providing the funding by the recipient. The goal of the program was to provide electricity to over a million households, but as of early 2003 only half of them had been electrified.[39] According to Dilma, the results of this program were higher in states where local governments subsidized it for the population.[40] She defended, then, a program heavily subsidized by the federal government, which should not only subsidize, but cover the costs for the universalization of electricity.[41] The subsidy, on the other hand, should be for the final consumer, and not for the electricity companies.[42]

The program was launched on November 2003, under the name Luz para Todos (English: Electricity for All), focused in regions with low Human Development Index and families with total income of up to three minimum wages. The goal of the program was to provide electricity for 2 million households until the end of 2008. In October 2008, Dilma acknowledged that the government would not be able to fulfill its goal in time, leaving 100,000 households behind. In April 2008, the government expanded the program until 2010, in order to benefit other 1.17 million families. The Northeast region concentrated 49% of the connections of the program, which represented, from January 2005 to May 2008, 37.8% of all new wiring in the region, making the Northeast to surpass the South region in power consumption for the first time.

Despite being initially advertised as being funded by the Federal Government, 90% of its cost is actually paid for by electricity consumers, through several tariffs that incur on energy prices. [43]

Chief of Staff

Dilma during the Recife Carnival on February 21, 2009.

As Minister of Energy, Dilma had the support of two key ministers of the Lula administration: Antonio Palocci and José Dirceu. After Dirceu left the head of the Presidential Staff due to his involvement in the so-called "Mensalão" scandal, instead of being weakened, Dilma was chosen by Lula to be the new Chief of Staff. She took office in June 21, 2005, becoming the first female to assume the position.[27] As a former Energy Minister, she also holds a seat in the board of directors of Petrobras.[44]

According to Gilberto Carvalho, the President's private secretary, Dilma caught the attention of Lula for her courage to face difficult situations and technical skills. Franklin Martins, another guerrilla fighter-turned-minister, said Lula was very impressed with Dilma's management of the Ministry of Energy, where she prevented another blackout. "Lula realized that she kept things moving", he said. By choosing Dilma, Lula also prevented the political dispute between Palocci and Dirceu to succeed him, as Dilma did not have such ambition, was a new member of the Workers' Party, and did not belong to any faction of the party, transiting well in all of them. Dilma said to Carvalho that being appointed as Chief of Staff was a much bigger surprise for her than being appointed as Minister of Energy.[27] In the opinion of Rio Grande do Sul Senator and former Governor Pedro Simon, since Dilma took office, "seriousness is being imposed" in the Presidential Staff.[45]

After Dilma took office, the U.S. Consulate General in São Paulo sent a long profile of Dilma to the U.S. Department of State. It detailed several aspects of Dilma's life, talking about her past activity in a guerrilla organization, her tastes and habits, and professional characteristics, being described as a prestigious and detailed technician, with the reputation of a workaholic and a great ability to listen, but with lack of political tact, turning directly to technicians rather than her superiors.[46][47]

She is considered a possible presidential candidate for the Worker's Party in the 2010 general elections[48]. According to a recent poll by Sensus Institute, Dilma has the preference of over 23,5% of Brazilian voters against 40,4% of São Paulo governor José Serra. She is tied with Serra on the spontaneous poll, in which a list featuring the names of the likely candidates is not shown to voters.[49]

Personal life

Rousseff has been married twice. In 1968, she got married to journalist Cláudio Galeno de Magalhães Linhares, who introduced 20-year-old Dilma to the underground resistance movement against the dictatorship. In the early 1970s, Dilma split from Galeano and started dating Carlos Franklin Paixão de Araújo, her common-law husband, with whom she had her only child, a daughter named Paula Rousseff de Araújo in 1977. The couple separated in 1994, after Dilma discovered that another woman was pregnant with Araújo's son, and later resumed their relationship, finally divorcing in 2000.

Detained in São Paulo, Araújo was sent to his homestate of Rio Grande do Sul to finish his sentence. After she moved to Porto Alegre to resume her life with him, Dilma became a teacher at the prison in order to see him. This was her first job ever, despite not being paid for it.

According to Dilma, she likes History and is interested in opera. In the early 1990s, she enrolled in a course of Greek theater by playwright Ivo Bender. Greek mythology became an obsession for Dilma, who, influenced by Penelope, decided to learn how to embroider. Her favorite actress of all time is Fernanda Montenegro.

Battle against cancer

At a press conference on April 25, 2009, Rousseff revealed that she was undergoing treatment to remove an early-stage axillar lymphoma – a cancer in the lymphatic system – which was detected in her left armpit during a routine mammographic exam. It was diagnosed as a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the most aggressive type, but her chances of being cured were up to 90%. She was submitted to adjuvant chemotherapy treatment for four months.[50]

In mid-May 2009, she was hospitalized in the Hospital Sírio Libanês, in São Paulo, with severe pains in her legs, being diagnosed with a myopathy, a muscle inflammation resulting from the cancer treatment. On early September that same year, she revealed to have completed her radiotherapy treatment, claiming to be cured, what was later confirmed by the doctors of that hospital at the end of the month. She started to wear a wig because of the hair loss caused as an effect of chemotherapy.

After seven months of wearing a wig, Dilma revealed her natural dark brown hair at the launch of the III Human Rights Program on December 21, 2009. She announced on November that she would be retiring her wig as soon as her hair became more even. According to her, her hair was "full of holes" until a few days later. "I couldn't take it off there in Copenhagen", she said. She first publicly admitted of wearing a wig back in May, when she jokingly referred to it as a "basic little wig".[51][52]


  1. ^ PIZZETTO, Renato. "Nunca vou falar não para o Lula, diz Dilma sobre 2010". Folha da Bahia, April 20, 2008.
  2. ^ United States Consulate document about Dilma Rousseff, sent to the U.S. Department of State.
  3. ^ LEITÃO, Matheus and RAMOS, Murilo. "Dilma, a poderosa". Época, November 10, 2006.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t CARVALHO, Luiz Maklouf. "As armas e os varões: A educação política e sentimental de Dilma Roussef". Piauí, number 31 (April 2009), p. 22-31.
  6. ^ 04-05-2009. "Ex-guerrilheira é elogiada por militares e vista como "cérebro" do grupo". Folha de S. Paulo (29.222): Caderno A - Brasil.
  7. ^ 04-05-2009. "Aos 19, 20 anos, achava que eu estava salvando o mundo". Folha de S. Paulo (29.222): Caderno A - Brasil.
  8. ^ 01-15-2003. "O cérebro do roubo ao cofre", Veja.
  9. ^ 02-18-2009. "Minc: Dilma não roubou 'cofre do Ademar' em 1969". O Globo.
  10. ^ Barrionuevo, Alexei. "The health of a likely presidential candidate comes under Brazil's microscope", The New York Times
  11. ^ a b "Aos 19, 20 anos, achava que eu estava salvando o mundo" (05-04-2009). Folha de S. Paulo (29.222): Caderno A - Brasil.
  12. ^ a b "Grupo de Dilma planejava sequestrar Delfim" (05-04-2009). Folha de S. Paulo (29.222): Caderno A - Brasil.
  13. ^ "Painel do Leitor" (08-04-2009). Folha de S. Paulo (29.225): Caderno A - Opinião.
  14. ^ "Para ficar ao abrigo de desmentidos" (12-04-2009). Folha de S. Paulo (29.229): Ombudsman.
  15. ^ Nassif, Luis (06-04-2009). "Fonte acusa Folha de manipulação". Último Segundo. Página visitada em 13/08/2009.
  16. ^ "Espinosa denuncia fraude da "Folha" contra Dilma". Jornal Hora do Povo.
  17. ^ "A fraude da Folha(*) e o sequestro de Delfim: Dilma não sabia de nada e não tem do que se defender", Conversa Afiada (06-04-2009).
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ Samarco, Christiane (03-08-2008)."Revoltados com Tarso, militares discutem punir 'terroristas'", O Estado de S. Paulo
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ a b [3]
  22. ^ Portal G1 (7 Feb 2007). Torturada na ditadura, Dilma será indenizada.
  23. ^ "É simples saber se a ficha é falsa" (05-07-2009). Folha de S. Paulo (29.313): Ombudsman.
  24. ^ "Franklin critica Folha no caso da suposta ficha sobre Dilma" (07-05-2009). Folha de S. Paulo (29.254): Caderno A - Brasil.
  25. ^ "Autenticidade de ficha de Dilma não é provada" (25-04-2009). Folha de S. Paulo (29.242): Caderno A - Brasil.
  26. ^ "Erramos" (25-04-2009). Folha de S. Paulo (29.242): Caderno A - Opinião.
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Carvalho, Luís Maklouf (July 2009). "Mares nunca dantes navegados: Como e por que Dilma Rousseff se tornou a candidata de Lula à sucessão presidencial". Revista Piauí, nº 34, p. 26-33.
  28. ^ Kattah, Eduardo (September 16, 2008). "Dilma se emociona em homenagem a vítimas da ditadura", O Estado de S. Paulo.
  29. ^ Site da Casa Civil dizia que Dilma tinha feito mestrado em teoria econômica. Unicamp nega
  30. ^ Veja, 6/6/2001
  31. ^ Veja, 17/11/2004
  32. ^ [4]
  33. ^ [5]
  34. ^ [6]
  35. ^ [7]
  36. ^ [8]
  37. ^ http://g1.globo.com/Noticias/Economia_Negocios/0,,MUL534693-9356,00-PETROBRAS+EMPURRA+RETOMADA+DOS+ESTALEIROS+NO+BRASIL.html
  38. ^ Folha de S. Paulo, 29/11/2009, "Indústria naval renasce e já é 6ª do mundo"
  39. ^ [9]
  40. ^ [10]
  41. ^ http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/dinheiro/ult91u73935.shtml
  42. ^ http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/folha/dinheiro/ult91u73903.shtml
  43. ^ http://www.acendebrasil.com.br/archives/files/20080428_Luzparatodos_FSP.pdf
  44. ^ The Economist. What Lies Beneath. Economist.com. Retrieved Apr. 16, 2008, from http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11043022&top_story=1
  45. ^ Estadão (26 de outubro de 2008). "Pedro Simon prevê aliança entre PT e PMDB em 2010".
  46. ^ [11]
  47. ^ [12]
  48. ^ Brazil local vote to have national impact
  49. ^ [13]
  50. ^ [14]
  51. ^ [15]
  52. ^ [16]

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Dilma Rousseff in April 7, 2008.

Dilma Rousseff (Born December 14, 1947) is a Brazilian economist and politician of Bulgarian origin. She is a member of the Worker's Party and the Chief of Staff of Brazil since 2005. She is the first female to hold that office.


  • Any comparison between the military dictatorship and democracy can only come from those who does not value the Brazilian democracy.
    • Speech at a Senate hearing. Dilma responded to Senator José Agripino Maia, who suggested that, having lied when she was interrogated by the political police, she could also have been lying about the leak of data of Fernando Henrique Cardoso's personal expenditures. [1]
  • I am proud to have lied, lying under torture is not easy. In the face of torture, a person with dignity lies. Endure torture is very difficult (...) The pain is unbearable; you can not imagine how. I am proud to have lied, because I saved my comrades from the same torture and from death.
    • Speech at the same Senate hearing, responding to Senator José Agripino Maia. [2]

About Dilma Rousseff

  • Minister Dilma Rousseff has a strong personality, a male side in the way in which she stamps her management.
    • Gilberto Gil, Minister of Culture (2003–2008). IstoeÉ magazine, December 28, 2005.

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Dilma Vana Roussef (born December 14, 1947) is a economist, politician and the 40th president-elect of Brazil. On 31st October 2010, Roussef won 55% of the vote. Her main contender was José Serra who won 44%. Serra was the candidate of the Brazilian Social Democratic Party. On January 1, 2011 she became the first woman president of the country.[1][2] In 2003, in the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, she was the minister of Mines and Energy. She became Lula's Chief of Staff in 2005, after her predecessor, José Dirceu, resigned because of charges of corruption.[3]

She was an active opponent of the military dictatorship that governed Brazil from 1964 to 1985. In January 1970 she was sent to prison for being a member a Marxist group which had carried out bank robberies and murders.[4][2] She was released after three years. She joined the Workers Party in 1986.



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