Name at birth: Dilma Vana Rousseff
Dilma Rousseff is Brazil's first woman president, in office since 1 January 2011. Born to a Bulgarian father and Brazilian mother, she was raised in Belo Horizonte. As a student in the late 1960s, Rousseff got involved in militant socialist politics, along with Carlos Araújo, the man who would become her second husband and partner for the rest of her career. Fighting the underground battle against the ruling military dictatorship landed her in prison in 1970, where she spent nearly three years and was tortured with electric shocks. After her release, she finished her studies (1977) and pursued local politics as a member of the Democratic Labor Party. Over the next two decades, Rousseff's major role was as a behind-the-scenes party consultant and able administrator, with a specialty in energy concerns. When Luis "Lula" da Silva campaigned for the presidency in 2002, he tapped Rousseff as one of his top consultants. After his election, he named her to his cabinet as Minister of Energy. Rousseff's success in that position led to her job as Lula's Chief of Staff in 2005, a post she held until deciding to run for election as Lula's successor in 2010. Her leftist past and later pro-capitalist leanings mean that Rousseff is considered a hypocrite to a some, but a pragmatist to most.
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