Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

A Woman Rises in Brazil

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on September 30, 2010

by Luisita Lopez Torregrosa for The New York Times, September 28th, 2010.

Latin America is no stranger to female leaders, but not many can match the radical political trajectory of Dilma Rousseff, the 62-year-old onetime Marxist guerrilla leader who stands to become Brazil’s first female president.

For Ms. Rousseff, a twice-divorced economist, to become Brazil’s president — either by winning outright in elections on Sunday, or in a later runoff — would be historic enough. What’s more, she would rule a country with the eighth-largest economy in the world, the wealthiest in Latin America.

Brazil has always been an exotic playground whose politics regularly feature corruption, violence and upheaval. But it is now a player in the world arena. It is a global power.

Up until a year or so ago, Ms. Rousseff, the former chief of staff of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, had worked mostly behind the scenes, by most accounts an effective and respected civil servant in the shadow of the popular president universally known as Lula. Forbidden by law to run for a third term, Mr. da Silva tapped Ms. Rousseff, cast his aura around her and became her loudest and most passionate cheerleader.(continue reading… )

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