Dilma Rousseff, the current President of Brazil, is the current presidential candidate of the Workers’ Party for the 2014 Presidential race. She was elected on October 31st, 2010, becoming the first female president in Brazil’s history. Dilma Vana Rousseff was born on December 14th, 1947, in Belo Horizonte. She is the daughter of Pedro Rousseff, an immigrant from Bulgaria, and of Dilma Jane da Silva, a teacher from Resende, Rio de Janeiro. The couple had three children: Igor, Dilma, and Zana.
At 16 years of age, Dilma Rousseff initiated her political career by joining organizations aimed at combatting the military regime. In 1969, she met Carlos Franklin Paixão de Araújo. Together they underwent persecution by the military police. Convicted of “subversion,” Rousseff spent nearly three years, from 1970 to 1972, at the Tiradentes prison in São Paulo.
After being released from prison, Dilma resumed her studies at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. In 1979 she assisted in the campaign for Amnesty during the process of political liberalization led by the military government still in power. Together with her husband, Carlos Araújo, she helped found the Democratic Workers’ Patty (PDT) in Rio Grande do Sul.
In 2002, Dilma Rousseff was asked to be a part of the transition team between the governments of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002) and Lula (2003-2010). Then, under the Lula Administration, she became Minister of Mines and Energy. Between 2003 and 2005, she led major transformations in the energy sector, establishing a regulatory framework (laws, regulations and technical standards) for Energy and Mining practices. In addition, she was the Chair of the Board of Directors of Petrobras, introduced biodiesel in the Brazilian energy industry, and created the Luz Para Todos Program.
In 2005, Dilma Rousseff took over as secretary of state, overseeing the work of all the ministries. She took leadership of strategic programs such as the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), and the housing program Minha Casa, Minha Vida.
Prior to becoming President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff held the following positions:
- Municipal Secretary of the Treasury of Porto Alegre
- State Secretary of Energy, Mines, and Communications
- Minister of Mines and Energy
- Secretary of State
Image courtesy of Fickr user Blog do Planalto.