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Dilma Rousseff Becomes Brazil’s First Woman President *updated*

January 1, 2011

Congratulations to Rousseff, whose personal story is as compelling as her political one.

From the BBC:

Dilma Rousseff has been sworn in as Brazil’s first woman president, succeeding Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the most popular leader in the country’s history.

Ms Rousseff, 63, who has never held elected office, has pledged to follow the path set by President Lula.

He was constitutionally barred from seeking a third consecutive term.

Brazil’s economy has grown strongly but it remains one of the most unequal societies in the world.

Ms Rousseff was appointed energy minister in President Lula’s government in 2003 and served as his chief of staff from 2005 to 2010.

She was elected in October, defeating the opposition candidate Jose Serra by 56% to 44% in a run-off vote.

She is known to favour a strong state role in strategic areas, including banking, the oil industry and energy.

She has also promised to tackle Brazil’s complicated tax system.
Strong growth

Ms Rousseff’s inauguration ceremony at the Brazilian Congress began with a ride through the capital, Brasilia, in a Rolls-Royce. Rain prevented the vehicle’s roof from being opened.

In her oath, she promised to maintain and defend the constitution, observe the law, promote the wellbeing of the Brazilian people, and sustain the union, integrity and independence of Brazil.

Ms Rousseff, a former Marxist rebel who was imprisoned for three years in the early 1970s for resisting military rule, has promised to protect freedom of expression and worship, and to honour the constitution….

Secretary Clinton is attending the inauguration but I haven’t seen any photos or videos yet. If I do I will post them.

And here is more from CNN.

UPDATE: Here are a few photos of Secretary Clinton from today. This was all I found thus far. Interestingly, they show her with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and I am sure the right wing in the US will go crazy over it although I would say in response, “grow up, righties, this is diplomacy.” I am sure the armchair warriors like John Bolton, neocon Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin and the Fox News pundits will have a kitten, so nothing new there. Secretary Clinton could have acted undiplomatic and turned away from Chavez but she did not because she is the nation’s top diplomat and to do so would have been childish and would have accomplished nothing. The US and Venezuela are on very bad terms right now, unfortunately, but simply ignoring leaders we don’t like doesn’t solve a thing. We had eight years of that under Bush and what did it accomplish? Nada. The political right in this country are big on bluster, machismo and tough talk but they had an annoying tendency to not only not solve some of the most pressing diplomatic problems but to actually manage to make them worse.

UPDATE II: If you have a little extra time, please go over to this blog at the American Spectator and tell them that shaking hands with Chavez does not equal agreeing with all his policies. What about that is so hard for the neocons to understand? Honestly, the hot air coming from the right is getting unbearable. Simply ignoring countries we disagree with isn’t exactly the way to deal with vexing problems. Of course, the righties probably support sending in someone else’s kids to go fight a war against Venezuela. The fact is that not every country on the planet is always going to sing to our tune and we can’t simply go around shooting up the place. The way the right acts you’d think they had accomplished something foreign policy-wise during the 8 years they were in charge. I knew there would be a lot of huffing and puffing from the righties as soon as word got out that our nation’s top diplomat acted like a diplomat in Brazil.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, second left, shakes hands with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, right, next to Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos, left, and Chile's President Sebastian Pinera during the inauguration ceremony of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, unseen, at the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Thain permalink
    January 1, 2011 2:49 pm

    I like Rousseff she does have a great personal story. Of course, the US is a bit peeved Brazil has the audacity to look after it’s own economic and foreign policy interests. Brazil just announced it is building a Palestinian embassy – the first nation to do this. Most of South America has recognized Palestine over the past several months. If the US doesn’t get a move on and get Israel to play well with others, some other nations might take matters into their own hands. I think pretty much the entire world is sick of Israel’s self-serving games and land grabs at this point. Viva Brasilia!

    • January 1, 2011 3:17 pm

      Happy new year (and new decade) to all! Had not heard about the Palestinian embassy. Glad to hear it! Times are changing, whether the US and Israeli governments like it or not – glacially maybe, but change is unavoidable.

      And I am always happy to see any country make the shift to being led by a woman!

  2. Steve permalink
    January 2, 2011 10:35 am

    I’m glad she spoke to Chavez. She’s a diplomat and it would have looked silly if she had run away from him in an effort to avoid him. Also, she was in South America, she can’t avoid all the leftist leaders the US doesn’t like. When in Rome…But you are right Stacy, the likes of Jennifer Rubin are going to go nuts because they love infighting and tough talk about our “enemies.” They prefer war to peace, conflict to diplomacy.

    As for the Palestinian embassy- I’m all for it. I hope every country builds one. We need to light a fire under Bibi’s ass and maybe international recognition of a Palestinian state will do that. Of course, the US Congress will go nuts- how dare those dirty Arabs use the UN to enforce their rights! Only the US and Israel can do that!

  3. Tovah permalink
    January 2, 2011 12:56 pm

    Happy New Year!

    You are right on target with Hillary speaking to Chavez on the sidelines. Of course that is all anyone is talking about if you plug Hillary into Google to get the most recent news.

    I have a feeling that Stacy will be keeping a very close eye on Jennifer Rubin at the WaPo, given Rubin seems to go after Hillary and criticize everything she does. How Rubin even got that job is beyond me. Oh, it’s the WaPo, never mind, I know how she got that job.

    I’m wondering what Stacy thinks about the Haaretz story today saying that Obama and Hillary are really angry at Ehud Barak. The sourcing seems a bit sketchy. I know you follow this stuff very, very closely so I was interested in what you thought.

    • January 2, 2011 2:14 pm

      Tovah, I saw that story and it’s interesting because I’d love to know who planted it in Haaretz. The story seems politically motivated and I can’t help but wonder if it was planted by a domestic political adversary of Ehud Barak, as opposed to a US official.

      As you noted, there is no sourcing other than “unnamed officials” which makes the story suspect but also, who really believes that an Israeli official almost “burst into tears” upon hearing the US was upset? Please. Also, Hillary isn’t naive, she’s been working with Israeli leaders for years and so the notion that the entire US strategy rested upon the success of the one quasi-liberal in Bibi’s ultra-right wing coalition seems unlikely. I wouldn’t be surprised if the administration, including Hillary, is disappointed with Barak, but I am willing to bet their annoyance goes further than that and extends to Bibi and Lieberman.

      I can’t help but wonder if Hillary, Obama and Mitchell are a bit peeved at someone a little closer to home, namely Dennis Ross- apparently it was his idea to offer Israel every little thing it has wanted on a silver platter as the “incentive package” in return for a two month extension on settlements. It was Ross that didn’t deliver the goods and if anyone is familiar with his history in these negotiations going back to the 90’s, Ross seems more interested in ensuring Israel’s interests are protected, than objectively helping the parties reach an acceptable compromise.

  4. Msakel permalink
    January 2, 2011 2:02 pm

    Great photos of the first female president of Brazil. Christine Kirschner is president of Argentina and Chile had a female president, too.

    Chavez said after the handshake: “(Hillary) approached us with a really spontaneous smile, was effusive and I extended my hand and chatted for a couple of things, nothing special…” Wow! She can get Chavez to acknowledge her diplomatic skills and humanness at the same time! Hillary is the greatest diplomat the U.S. ever had. She is tough where warranted, but if it were up to her, there would be only friendly nations…
    Roussef’s limos were accompannied by 8 female bodyguards and her first speech started with…

    “As president of Brazil, I promise to honor Women, the Vulnerable and to govern for all…” And she honored her female cellmates of 40 years ago where they met while being brutalized by a military regime that was installed in Brazil (thanks to Johnson/Nixon) from 1964 to 1985!

    Good luck to her and her 190 million Brazilians. Brazil is an economic powerhouse and Hillary already has done more for diplomatic relations between countries than anyone before her. Even Chavez now acknowledges her spontaneity and true grit…wonders never cease, eh?

    • January 2, 2011 2:07 pm

      I totally agree MSakel. It doesn’t take a huge amount of skill to interact with leaders/officials who are already our friends but it takes a great deal of skill to be able to work with/interact with those leaders with whom we disagree. That’s something that GOP and conservatives don’t seem to understand. Totally ignoring Iran, Venezuela, Cuba doesn’t solve anything. The fact is that many on the right see diplomacy as “weak”- they prefer to always use threats and force.

  5. January 2, 2011 2:20 pm

    To be so upset about a brief chat and a handshake seems like an immature response you’d expect from a spoiled child. Several LA countries’ power is on the rise. The US’s is clearly not, at least not for now.

    And I notice in the photos the other LA country leaders interestedly watching the handshake. How would it have looked if Hillary had stalked off?

  6. Tovah permalink
    January 2, 2011 2:36 pm

    I saw your update about the article over at the American Spectator so I am headed over there now…

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