Weekly Featured Profile – Dilma Rousseff
Dilma Rousseff was elected as President of Brazil on Oct. 31, 2010. Her father, Pedro Rousseff, was a political exile from Bulgaria, where he had been a member and activist with the Communist Party of Bulgaria.
Dilma’s political awakening began in high school, where she was influenced by the writings of French political theorist Régis Debray and by a teacher and future comrade who taught her Marxism. In 1967, Rousseff joined a radical faction of the Brazilian Socialist Party
Rousseff joined Marxist anti-government guerrillas in the 1960s in an armed struggle against the then military government. In early 1969, the police invaded the group’s house and the militants responded by using a machine gun, which killed two policemen and wounded another. Dilma went underground, later participating in the formation of the Revolutionary Armed Vanguard Palmares. After that group split, Dilma was sent to Sao Paolo, where she was charged with guarding the group’s weapons – which she hid under her bed.
In this period, Rousseff instructed her comrades on Marxist theory and wrote for an underground newspaper. She denies carrying out any acts of violence during this period and says she opposed such actions and notes she was never accused by the military regime of violent acts.
With her trademark pixie-short hair style and thick glasses, Rousseff became one of Brazil’s most wanted fugitives. After three years underground, Rousseff was captured in 1970 by Brazil’s military police in a “sting” operation and was considered a big enough catch that a military prosecutor labeled her the “Joan of Arc” of the guerrilla movement.
Soon after her release, Rousseff returned to studying economics, graduating in 1977.
In the early 1980s, Rousseff became active in the Democratic Labour Party of Brazil.
The PDT won elections and Rousseff held a series of jobs as an adviser and bureaucrat at the local and state level. Rousseff left the PDT and in 2001, joined the crypto-communist Workers’ Party of Brazil, led by Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva.
Rousseff left government in 2002 to work on Lula’s successful campaign for president. Once in office, he named her minister of Mines and Energy.
In 2005, a scandal forced the resignation of Lula’s Chief of Staff and he appointed Rousseff to that post. Speculation began that Rousseff would be Lula’s choice to succeed him as president.
In March 2010, leading Communist Party USA member Emile Schepers, writing in the People’s World, observed that “the Rousseff victory in powerful and wealthy Brazil will be very welcome to the Latin American left and working class.”
President Rousseff found time to rally the troops and re-affirm her alliance with Marxists at the Communist Party of Brazil’s 13th Congress in November of 2013.
She openly celebrated communist terrorists and the deep bonds between her party and the communists, who she said were fighting “the good battle” on behalf of the people of Brazil.