It was the presidential election here and Brazil was on fire. People seemed so confused about who to vote for and if I were able to vote, I wouldn’t be able to choose one myself and so I went around asking some questions. The question I asked was, who would you vote for? The first person who answered was Marcella. She is only 15 years old but she had a very interesting answer. She said: “Neither of them is prepared to lead a country. Serra reminds people of what they would have rather forget. He brings bad memories of the past, things that shouldn’t be remembered, but I think that I would vote for Dilma.” The second person I asked was Saniel. He lived in the United States for most of his life, and now he has decided to come home to Brazil. His answer was: “I am only going to vote because it’s an obligation, because it’s my role in being part of this country, but my voting paper will be blank. I will not vote for either of the two candidates. They’re not ready to be president.”

Then I asked Clara who she would be voting for and her answer was a good one. She said: “I plan to vote for Serra because he has a good track record on education and health care. I think it’s really important that our next president does something about the environment. Brazil has a lot of natural resources and we need to make sure that these don’t go to waste. I won’t be voting for Dilma because I don’t think she’s got a strong personality. She doesn’t have what it takes to continue everything that Lula has done for Brazil. Jose Serra has a good record as governor, and he knows what he’s doing which is why I’m voting for him. I don’t like the way that Lula has performed as president. Yes, the economy has improved, but to be honest, the economy was improving before he got into power. He was just in the right place at the right time. Lula has a very good image, in Brazil and abroad, but there have been so many scandals linked to his government. I want the new president to be clean — corruption has got to be dealt with.”

One of the people I spoke to said that Dilma didn’t have the looks to be president. So I asked everyone, does Brazil have the culture to have a woman as president? Some people said that Dilma wouldn’t make a good president and Christians were saying that she is the antichrist. Christians don’t agree with having Dilma as president because she wants to legalize abortion, but I think that the truth is we aren’t ready to have a woman as a president. Many people felt that she didn’t have her own plans for the country, and that she was going to continue what our last president, Lula, had started and that either way she doesn’t have the guts to finish it. Lula was her godfather in this election, which means he was going to help her in this journey, and help her he did because she won.

But I didn’t think Brazil needs Lula’s ideas anymore. He had his time. We need someone who’s going to have new ideas and make them worth something.

Now Brazil has gotten itself Dilma Rousseff for president, the first woman to hold that office in Brazil. In my opinion she isn’t ready to rule this country and I’m not the only one who thinks that, but since the majority chose her, all we have to do is sit and wait to see what she’s going to do for Brazil. We’ll have to believe in her and hope that she does her job better than the other presidents. Like one of the people I interviewed said, “Corruption has got to end.” People’s reaction to Dilma’s election to president has been better than what I expected. I have not heard many people speaking against her since she became president. Having a woman as a president might make the people realize that women can rule a country just as well as men. No one I have spoken to has been prejudiced about having a woman in power now that she has won the election. This might be the beginning of a better way for Brazil for people to see that women are just as good as men, but if she does not do well, many people will say it is because she is a woman and they will say that women should never have the power to rule again.

Gazette contributor Ana Carolina Nascimento writes from Brazil reflecting on the recent historic presidential election there, when Dilma Rousseff representing the Workers Party won and will serve as Brazil’s first woman president. She succeeds Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who leaves office having served two terms with an 80 per cent approval rating. Her opponent was Jose Serra, the governor of Sao Paulo who represented the Social Democratic Party. Both presidential candidates were opponents of the dictatorship which ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. Ms. Dilma was imprisoned and allegedly tortured during that period, while Mr. Serra left the country.