Monday, October 27, 2014

Former Communist Insurgent Dilma Rousseff Elected to Second Term as Brazil's President

I blogged about this at the time but don't see it in my search results, but here's Telegraph UK, "The former Marxist guerrilla who is set to become Brazil's first woman president":
She is a former Marxist guerrilla whose organisation once stole $2.5 million from the safe of the governor of São Paulo.
And now she's reelected to another four-year term. At the New York Times, "Brazil Stays With Rousseff as President After Turbulent Campaign":

Dilma Rousseff photo 640px-Lula_Dilma_and_Obama_zps494ff0d6.jpg
RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian voters re-elected Dilma Rousseff as president on Sunday, endorsing a leftist leader who has achieved important gains in reducing poverty and keeping unemployment low over a centrist challenger who castigated her government for a simmering bribery scandal and a sluggish economy.

Ms. Rousseff of the Workers Party took 51.4 percent of the vote in the second and final round of elections, against 48.5 percent for Aécio Neves, a senator from the Social Democracy party and scion of a political family from the state of Minas Gerais, electoral officials said Sunday night with 98 percent of votes in the country counted.

While Ms. Rousseff won by a thin margin, the tumultuous race was marked by accusations of corruption, personal insults and heated debates, revealing climbing polarization in Brazil. Mr. Neves surged into the lead this month in opinion surveys, only to be eclipsed by Ms. Rousseff as the vote on Sunday approached.

“People without much money have seen their lives improve during recent years,” said Liane Lima, 62, a secretary in São Paulo who voted for Ms. Rousseff. “I think we should let Dilma finish what she started.”

Indeed, Ms. Rousseff’s victory reflects broad changes in Brazilian society since the Workers Party rose to power 12 years ago with the election of her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who chose Ms. Rousseff as his successor to run in the 2010 election and campaigned for her again this year.

Building on an economic stabilization project put in place by the Social Democrats in the 1990s, Ms. Rousseff and Mr. da Silva aggressively expanded social welfare programs, lifting millions of Brazilians out of poverty. Pointing to the popularity of the antipoverty spending, Mr. Neves, the challenger in the race, said he would not scale it back.

But while Ms. Rousseff campaigned largely on her government’s support for poor and working-class citizens, she faced fierce criticism over her economic policies, with Brazil struggling with slow growth throughout her first term and a recession this year. Brazil’s financial markets gyrated wildly throughout the race, reflecting skepticism over her management of the economy.

Ms. Rousseff, 66, a former Marxist guerrilla who was imprisoned and tortured by Brazil’s military dictatorship, rejected much of the criticism while emphasizing that she had no plans to shift away from policies involving greater state control over the economy. Still, she signaled openness to shaking up her cabinet, including replacing her unpopular finance minister, Guido Mantega.

In addition to facing turbulence in the markets, Ms. Rousseff will deal in her next four-year term with a sprawling scandal involving testimony of bribes and money laundering at Petrobras, the national oil company, which has eroded confidence in the Workers Party. A former high-ranking executive at Petrobras has testified that he channeled bribes to the party and its allies in Brasília.

“I always voted for the Workers Party, since I was a teenager, but this government hasn’t done anything different,” said José Abel, 48, who runs a tourist agency in Brasília and voted for Mr. Neves largely out of concern over corruption in Ms. Rousseff’s government. “They’re just the same as other parties now.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Brazil's Marxist president seen with America's Marxist president, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.