Brazil’s suspended President Dilma Rousseff said on August 29 that the future of Brazil was at stake, while urging the Senate in Brasilia to vote against the so-called coup d’etat against her.
She was defending herself in an impeachment trial, which was expected to remove her from office within days.
The first woman president of Brazil denied committing crime, and insisted that there was no justification to remove her from power.
She called the impeachment a “coup,” while saying that her government made mistakes but never betrayed her voters.
68-year-old Rousseff is accused of breaking fiscal rules in her management of the federal budget.
Rousseff was born on December 14, 1947, to a Brazilian mother and Bulgarian businessman father, growing up comfortably in her middle-class family in southeastern Brazil.
She cut her political teeth while fighting the military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985.
In January 1970, 22-year-old Rousseff was arrested and sentenced to prison for allegedly belonging to a group responsible for murders and bank robberies.
Behind bars, she was subjected to repeated bouts of torture, including electric shocks.
In 1979, Rousseff helped found the Democratic Labor Party and eventually switched to the Workers’ Party in 2000, where she made rapid progress into the country’s upper echelons.
While party founder and her mentor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva presided over the country from 2003 to 2011, she served in tandem as energy minister, cabinet chief and chairwoman of the Petrobras, Brazil’s biggest corporation.
Rousseff came to power in the 2010 election, as the handpicked party candidate to succeed hugely popular Lula.
Taking the coattail of the predecessor, her popularity surfed as the economy kept prosperity.
She eked out a victory in the 2014 race, with 51 percent of the vote, but her mandate rapidly got bogged down, as economic output plummeted, unemployment rose and a huge corruption scandal tainted many of her allies, as well as members of the opposition.