Dilma Vana Rousseff (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈd(ʒ)iwmɐ ˈvɐ̃nɐ ʁuˈsɛfⁱ] born 14 December 1947) is the 36th and current President of Brazil. She is the first woman to hold the office. She was previously the Chief of Staff of the President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from 2005 to 2010.
The daughter of a Bulgarian entrepreneur, 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 eventually captured and jailed between 1970 and 1972, where she was 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 the City of Porto Alegre in the Alceu Collares Administration, and later the Secretary of Energy of the State of Rio Grande do Sul under both the Collares and Olívio Dutra Administrations. In 2000, after an internal dispute in the Dutra cabinet, she left the 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 31 March 2010, when she stepped down in order to run for president. She was elected in a run-off on 31 October 2010, beating the candidate of the Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira (PSDB) José Serra, and re-elected on 26 October 2014 with a narrow second round victory over Aécio Neves, also of the PSDB.
Dilma Vana Rousseff was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil, on 14 December 1947, to Bulgarian lawyer and entrepreneur Pedro Rousseff (born Pétr Rúsеv, Bulgarian: Петър Русев, 1900–1962) and schoolteacher Dilma Jane da Silva. Her father was born in Gabrovo, Principality of Bulgaria, and was a friend of the Nobel Prize-nominated Bulgarian poet Elisaveta Bagryana. An active member of the Bulgarian Communist Party in the 1920s, Petar Rusev fled political persecution in Bulgaria in 1929, settling in France. He arrived in Brazil in the 1930s, already widowed (he left behind his son Lyuben, who died in 2007), but soon moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina. He returned to Brazil several years later, settling in São Paulo, where he succeeded in business. Pétar Rúsev adapted his first name to Portuguese (Pedro) and the last to French (Rousseff). During a trip to Uberaba, he met Dilma Jane da Silva, a young schoolteacher born in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, and raised in Minas Gerais, where her parents were ranchers. The two married and settled in Belo Horizonte, where they had three children: Igor, Dilma Vana, and Zana Lúcia (who died in 1977). Igor Rousseff, Dilma’s elder brother, is a lawyer.
Pedro Rousseff was a contractor for Mannesmann steel in addition to building and selling real estate. The family lived in a large house, had three servants, and maintained European habits. The children had a classical education, and both piano and French lessons. After Pedro defeated the initial resistance of the local community to accept foreigners, the family began to attend traditional clubs and schools.title