Military Officials Who Tortured Brazilian President-Elect Rousseff Face Civil Suit

Brazil’s first female President Dilma Rousseff had a history of fighting for her country long before she ever dreamed of holding the highest political office in the land.

Prior to joining former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government, Rousseff was an important member of a variety of Marxist military political organization in the late 1960s. She joined various radical groups in opposition to the military dictatorship that held power in Brazil from 1964-1985. Rousseff was eventually captured in 1970, thrown into the notorious Tiradentes prison, and subjected to brutal torture. She was released in 1973 and moved to Southern Brazil to reunite with her husband.

Federal prosecutors in Sao Paulo are now launching an investigation against four retired military officers who stand accused of murdering six people and torturing many others, including President-elect Dilma Rousseff. The prosecution is currently investigating crimes related to Operation Bandeirante, the codename for the army’s 1969-1970 campaign of repression.

"I voted for Dilma because she is a fighter," Estevam Sanches, a 43-year-old pizza parlor owner in Sao Paulo told the Associated Press. "What we need is a fighter in the presidency to continue, as she says she will, with Lula's efforts to eradicate poverty and strengthen the economy."