Dilma Rousseff

Inaugural Speech to the Brazilian Public - Jan. 1, 2011

Dilma Rousseff
January 01, 2011— Brasilia, Brazil
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My Dear Brazilians, I am happy, as seldom before in my life, at the opportunity bestowed upon me by history to take office as the first woman to govern Brazil.

I am also deeply moved – at the end of the term of office of the greatest popular leader this country has ever known – to have had the honor of his support, the privilege of his companionship, and to have learned from his immense wisdom. Such things I shall cherish throughout my entire life.

Close contact during these years allowed me to take the measure of this fair ruler; this leader who loves his country and his people. My joy at taking office as President is tempered with the emotion I feel at his departure. But Lula shall remain with us. To a man of such stature and generosity, taking leave is of little significance. The task of succeeding him is, indeed, formidable.

I pledge to honor his legacy. I shall endeavor to consolidate and carry forward his work.

Our people’s desire for change made a worker President of Brazil. For his effort and dedication, his name is now inscribed upon the hearts of his people, our Nation’s most hallowed place.

Today, he leaves the government after eight years in office; a period in which he oversaw outstanding transformations in the life of the country.

The audacity of these transformations inspired the people to further boldness: for the first time, making a woman President of Brazil.

Quite apart from my personal feelings, enhancing the value of women improves our society and strengthens our democracy.

I wish, at this moment, to pay homage to another great Brazilian; a companion who has struggled tirelessly and stood alongside President Lula over these eight years: our beloved Vice-president José Alencar.

What an example of love of life this man has provided! And what a strong partnership Lula and José Alencar forged, on behalf of Brazil and of our people!

I, along with Michel Temer, feel committed to following the path they have blazed.

We have learned from them that, when we govern – bearing in mind the public interest and the most needy – immense strength emanates from our people.

I also reaffirm another commitment: I shall attend with utmost care to the weakest and most needy – but I shall govern for all!

A notable Indian leader once said that you cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.

Thus I pledge: my hand shall always be open and will reach out to all, from our most longstanding allies, even to our adversaries.

It is in this spirit that, today, I assume the government of my Country. I believe – and I shall work to ensure – that we are all united in favor of necessary change in education, in healthcare, in security and, above all, in the struggle to bring an end to extreme poverty.

I do not ask that anyone renounce firmly-held convictions. I shall seek support, and shall respect critics; for it is the civilized play of ideas that drives great democracies, such as our own.

I bear no resentments. My generation was drawn to politics in a quest for freedom, at a time of darkness and fear. We paid dearly for our boldness – but helped the country arrive at this moment. To comrades that fell during this journey, my sincere homage; my fondest remembrance.

My Dear Brazilians,

We have achieved much in these past eight years.

But much remains to be done. And it was the belief that we can do more and better that convinced the Brazilian people to bring us to this point. Now is a time to work; now is a time for union. Union in favor of education for children and the youth; union on behalf of high-quality healthcare for all; and union to ensure the security of our communities.

Union, so that Brazil can continue to grow, generating jobs for current and future generations.

Union, so that we can, indeed, create more and better opportunities for all. My dream is not unlike that of any citizen, male or female: that of a mother or father wishing to offer their children better opportunities than they had in their own lifetimes.

It is the dream that builds a family; the challenge upon which a nation is built.

I have just delivered a pronouncement to the National Congress setting out my principal commitments.

Therein I stated goals and targets, but also dreams.

I think that is how things should be. To govern a country of continental dimensions such as Brazil it is also important to have dreams. One must have great dreams, and one must pursue them.

It was a refusal to accept impossibilities that led President Lula to do so much for Brazil in these recent years. To dream and pursue one’s dreams is to breach the limits of possibility.

In order to consolidate and advance such great recent achievements I shall need the support of you all.

I ask you all for your support, from East to West, from North to South of Brazil.

I shall stand alongside those that work for the good of Brazil – in the solitudes of the Amazon, in remote areas of the Northeast, in the immense expanses of the Cerrado, in the vastness of the Pampas.

I shall prize regional development: sustaining the vibrant economy of the Northeast; preserving and respecting biodiversity of the Amazon in the North; fostering conditions for extraordinary agricultural production in the Central-west; industrial might of the Southeast, and the vigor and pioneering spirit of the South.

If we all work on the country’s behalf, our efforts will be rewarded two-fold. Brazil is a generous land. Whatever is planted by caring hands and with an eye to the future yields abundance and joy.

May God bless Brazil and the Brazilian people!

May we build a world of peace!

Speech found at http://ontd-political.livejournal.com/7489447.html.