16 March 2017

Dilma Rousseff: Brazil must cleanse its soul

On 13 March, former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff spoke to Graduate Institute students about the “social and democratic coup” affecting the country.

Mrs Rousseff, who was ousted as president in 2016, described the current situation in Brazil as “extremely serious. They are dismantling social programmes that we created to take the most marginalised groups out of poverty, and policies which proved it was possible to grow the economy while simultaneously distributing revenue.”

She said the October 2018 presidential elections represented a crucial moment: “the popular vote is the only way Brazil will be able to find itself again, and to cleanse its soul.”

The talk was organised with the Graduate Institute Student Association (GISA) and the Geneva Academy. GISA president Andre Sarli, who co-moderated the event with Professor Felipe Calvão, said “sharing the stage with a former President was an insightful experience, almost like getting to know two different people: the politician, familiar to us from news and official communications, and the human being with all their peculiarities and flaws. Ms. Roussef is clearly a strong and very smart person - my lasting memory is of her quoting Foucault - and yet also skilled in the very political strategy of not answering questions by getting around them.”

Mrs Rousseff’s presentation (in Portuguese) is available to watch below.