The Seleção is Above Politics" - Op-ed by Brazil´s President Dilma Rousseff

15/06/2014 - 22:01

In 1970, I was in jail. At the time, many segments of society would say that "those who cheer for Brazil strengthen the dictatorship." That was folly. For me, that dilemma never existed.

I was arrested on 16 January of that year, and, as it has now, the World Cup began in June. At the time, many of those who opposed the military regime began raising the issue that we would be strengthening the dictatorship if we supported the Brazilian national team. At first, there were many people who thought that way, but their numbers gradually dwindled, and eventually there was no one left. As the matches went on, everyone, those who were in jail and those who weren't, passionately supported Brazil’s national team.

We lived under a dictatorship. There was no right to demonstrate, no right to assemble, no right to dissent. There was torture, prosecution and repression. But that was never the issue. My cellmates and I never had any doubts about this, and we all cheered for Brazil because football is above politics.

Our sentiment may best be understood by a verse in Camões’ The Lusiads: "Abandon all, the ancient Muse revered; A loftier code of honor has appeared."

The Brazilian national team represents our nationality. It stands above governments, parties and interests of any group.

Yesterday, today, and always, the Brazilian people's love and trust are with the Seleção.

*Dilma Rousseff is the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil

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