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Dilma Rousseff condemns the imprisonment of Catalan officials as ‘not a good idea’

The former president of Brazil defends the right to self-determination when done ‘with respect to democracy’ 


16 November 2017 01:33 PM


ACN | Strasbourg

The former president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, defends “the right to self-determination” as long as it’s carried out “with respect to democracy.” During the press conference held in Strasbourg at the European Parliament, she also criticized the incarceration of the members of the Catalan government. Rousseff stated that imprisoning political leaders is “not a good idea” nor that it will “have any effect.”

The Brazilian politician expressed her belief that incarcerating government officials won’t “change people’s opinions,” nor will it “change the opinions or attitudes of those being held.” She did not respond to whether she believed that those being held were “political prisoners.” Yet, she did compare their incarceration to her own as a “political prisoner,” which lasted for three years. Indeed, she also explained that being detained “actually reinforced” her beliefs and made her “more resolved to fight for democratic principles.” 

  • “Being a political prisoner actually my beliefs and made me more resolved to fight for democratic principles”

    Dilma Rousseff · Former president of Brazil 

Still, she stated that “what’s happening in Catalonia isn’t comparable,” and recognized that the Catalan situation “is very complex.” Rousseff highlighted that processes like that in Catalonia are “not easy by any means” and added that the American continent “has not experienced something of this sort.” Inasmuch, she specified that she feels she’s “not an expert on the subject,” and that her “impressions” on the subject are “superficial.”  

Inasmuch, she expressed her belief that it’s better to “not interfere.” Yet, she did remind the journalists present that “in Kosovo, the UN accepted” the “right to self-determination, to independence.”

Those in charge of government “can also be activists,” states Rousseff

Once again reiterating her opposition to “detaining people,” she also added that it’s a violation of these individuals’ rights. Rousseff noted that those “formally in charge of government positions can also be activists,” and therefore, one must “respect their right to those activities.”

Dilma Rousseff, the former 36th president of Brazil, governed in from 2011 until she was impeached in 2016. The incarceration to which Dilma refers to occurred in 1970, when, while fighting against the Brazilian military dictatorship of the time, she was captured, jailed, and tortured.  When she was inaugurated as president some 40 years later running on the left-wing platform of the Worker’s Party (PT), it was the first time a woman ever presided over the country. 


  • Former president of Brazil Dilma Rousseff speaking in Brussels (by the European Council)

  • Former president of Brazil Dilma Rousseff speaking in Brussels (by the European Council)