Today’s candidate is Dilma Rousseff.
Dilma Rousseff (PT – Partido dos Trabalhadores – Worker’s Party) is Lula’s sweetheart. Previously to candidacy she had been the Chief of Staff of Brazil – from 2005 until 2010 – in Lula’s mandate. In spite of having an administrative position of public notoriety, she had been living in the shadowy limbo of political (and public) oblivion until President Lula openly endorsed her candidacy around the middle of 2009. Before President Lula openly and shamelessly* advocated for her, hardly any average Brazilian citizen knew exactly who Dilma Rousseff was or what she did. Back then she would always be 10 points behind in the polls, runner up to candidate José Serra (PMDB – Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira – Party of the Brazilian Social Democracy). After President Lula started openly campaigning for and with her, she started climbing all the way up on the polls, and is now about 10 points in front of candidate José Serra.
Dilma Rousseff never ran for any public post in her life. She is essencially an administrator who was fabricated into the ideal politician stereotype, based solely on Lula’s gigantic and astonishing popularity and public appeal. This article says exactly what I am talking about: My Name is Dilma Rousseff and I’m Running Again for President, Says Brazil’s Lula
All the above said, I am not saying here that Dilma would be a bad president simply because she never ran for office before.
Unlike her female concurrent Marina Silva, who had a poor life background in the Amazon forrest, Dilma Roussef is a urban, high middle class woman, born in the town of Belo Horizonte, capital of the state of Minas Gerais. Already in her youth – 16 years old – she became interested in Marxism. Later while in college (UFMG, where she started a major in Economics, later finished in another college, UFRGS, in the town of Porto Alegre.) she became a member of the socialist armed militia VAR-Palmares, one of the many youth groups that fought against the abuses of the ongoing military dictatorship (which started in 1964 with a coup d’etat). Dilma Rousseff was arrested and tortured by the military during three years of her life. After the end of military dictatorship she started her career in a number of administrative posts, always related with public administration and politics, and so on, until she became Lula’s Chief of Staff.
Dilma Rousseff, together with Marina Silva, is a good example of Brazil’s best: diversity. Both come from opposite backgrounds, one is a brown skinned, formerly illitarate child of the Amazon; the other is white, daughter of a rich European immigrant. Both are Brazilian. They have very different stories, but what they have in common is that both somehow involve suffering and giving yourself over to something bigger. Both are women. Both are candidates to president.
*The electoral law of Brazil determines that there is only so much the current chief of state can do to campaign in favor of his successor. President Lula crossed that line shamelessly many and many times, and has been fined in several thousands of Brazilian Reais for that, yet, he pays the fine and goes on breaking the law. The situation got to the curious point that Dilma will never pose with her Vice (and I’m afraid no one actually even knows who her vice is: Michel Temer, PMDB, President of the Brazilian Congress.)
I only mention this funny detail because undue campaign is something Lula vehemently condemned before he became president. Now he changed his mind, it seems.