Saturday, January 21, 2012

Dilma Rousseff

Dilma Vana Rousseff (born 14 December 1947) is the 36th and current President of Brazil. She is the first woman to hold the office. Prior to that, in 2005, she was also the first woman to become Chief of Staff of Brazil, appointed by then President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The daughter of a Bulgarian immigrant father, Rousseff was raised in an upper middle class household in Belo Horizonte. She became a socialist during her youth, and following the 1964 coup d'état joined various left-wing and Marxist urban guerrilla groups that fought against the military dictatorship. Rousseff was captured and jailed between 1970 and 1972 and reportedly tortured.

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

In 2002, Rousseff joined the committee responsible for the energy policy of presidential candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who after winning the election invited her to become Minister of Energy. In 2005, a political crisis triggered by a corruption scandal led to the resignation of Chief of Staff José Dirceu. Rousseff took over the post, remaining in office until March 31, 2010, when she left in order to run for President. She was elected in a run-off on 31 October 2010. She is the first female elected President of Brazil, in addition to being the first economist elected for the office.

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