By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – President Dilma Rousseff made her final national address of 2013 on Sunday, December 29th. Broadcast on radio and television, the approximately twelve-minute speech summarized the events and the government actions taken during the at times turbulent year and emphasized that 2013 is ending “better than it started.”
Confidence about the country’s future was a reoccurring theme in the speech as Rousseff stated in the opening minutes; “Brazil is entering 2014 with energy and optimism and with the assurance that life will continue to improve.”
Rousseff promised the standard of living, one of the her major initiatives during her Presidency, will improve throughout Brazil in 2014.
“We will not stop for a single moment fighting on behalf of all Brazilians especially those most in need,” Rousseff stated adding, “With a very special focus on the young, women and blacks […] we will strengthen the “Brasil sem Miséria” (Brazil without Misery) program and we will be one step closer to ending absolute poverty across the country.”
Additionally the massive protests held earlier this year were addressed as Rousseff said; “You young people know how much your standard of living has improved compared to what you had in your childhoods and what your parents had when they were your age. Use those images of the present and the recent past as a foundation to create the future.”
Emphasizing that the unemployment rate reached its lowest point in the history of the country in 2013, Rousseff also vowed reduce taxes and ensure fiscal balance in 2014. “The government is aware and firm in its commitment to fight inflation and to maintain the balance of public accounts,” said Rousseff. “We know what it takes to do so and nothing will make us get off of this course.”
On Sunday, Rousseff finished her address optimistically saying; “There are few places in the world where people have better conditions to grow, improve their lives and be happier. This is what I feel all over Brazil and this is what I feel inside my heart.”
Rousseff faces several challenges in the coming year including Brazil’s hosting of the FIFA 2014 World Cup and the October elections. How Brazilians will feel about Rousseff and the Workers Party (PT) will likely be correlated – at least in part – to how the country does on and off the football (soccer) pitch.
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