She has been called Brazil’s mother of the nation by some, and her country’s Iron Lady by others. Last year, Forbes Magazine named her the second most powerful woman in the world.
Everything we have invested in the World Cup will stay in Brazil, will remain for the Brazilian people .... There is a huge gain for Brazil in hosting this World Cup.
President Dilma Rousseff, elected in 2010, is Brazil’s first female head of state. This year she will be seeking re-election and is a frontrunner to win the poll despite protests against the cost of public services and the economic impact of staging the Olympics and the Football World Cup.
“I believe that the Brazilian people should give me the opportunity of a new term in office due to the fact that we are part of a project which has transformed Brazil. Fifty-four percent of Brazil’s population were living in poverty in 2002. Today, 75 percent of the Brazilian population make up the middle class; it includes people from class C and above which in turn accounts for three out of four Brazilians. We transformed the lives of these people,” Rousseff says.
In her youth she embraced progressive socialist politics and was jailed for her involvement in guerilla groups, but over the past 40 years she has made the journey from Marxism to moderate capitalism.
At a time when Brazil is facing tough economic choices and staging two of the world’s biggest and most costly sporting events, the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, talks to Al Jazeera about the World Cup, the BRICS Summit, economic and social challenges, and Brazils role in the region.
“We have a multipolar vision of the world. Taking into account that we have a great emphasis on our neighbours. The world is full of different cultures and we should get along with all nations,” she says.
“We were a colony, we have lived under the International Monetary Fund so we repudiate the concept of the superior giving orders to his subordinates. That is not what Brazil intends to do in the region or with African or BRICS countries. We want equality. Nobody can accuse Brazil of having an attitude of trying to enforce its interests against other peoples’ interests. This is a value that we have built upon. We wish to continue to make contributions towards creating a more peaceful world.”