Black woman will assume presidency of Brazil’s oldest political party

Luciana Barbosa de Oliveira Santos will be become the president of the Communist Party of Brazil
Luciana Barbosa de Oliveira Santos will be become the president of the Communist Party of Brazil

Note from BW of Brazil: Although various reports on this blog has provided ample evidence that black women often come in last on the totem pole in many areas of Brazilian society (health care, entrepreneurship and even marriage, for example), there are also many great success stories that should be recognized. Some black women have claimed high positions in the corporate world, some in the area of law, academia and there have been a number of women who have made historical accomplishments in the political realm. In 2009, Marina Silva shook up the political world as a serious candidate to the presidency and is shaping up to be a solid candidate in the next election. Now, Brazil’s oldest political party, the Brazilian branch of the Communist Party, has announced that a black woman will take the reigns as its new president. See the story below.

Alai Online clipping: "Party designates black woman for presidency"
Alai Online clipping: “Party designates black woman for presidency”

The Comitê Central do Partido Comunista do Brasil (PC do B or Central Committee of the Communist Party of Brazil), gathered in the past 18-20 days, decided, by proposition of national president Renato Rabelo, to designate Luciana Santos, vice president and congresswoman from Pernambuco, to replace him starting in the first quarter of 2015.


A resolution will be submitted for ratification by the future Central Committee to be voted on at the 13th Congress, to be held from November 14 to 16, in São Paulo.The designation assumes the maintenance of Renato Rabelo as head of PCdoB during the transition period, which starts from the 13th Congress until the deadline for Luciana Santos to assume the presidency.

Communist Party of Brazil
Communist Party of Brazil

Luciana Barbosa de Oliveira Santos was born in Recife (capital of Pernambuco in the northeast) on December 29, 1965, originating from a large family with communist militancy. She is an electrical engineer, a profession which hasn’t exercised, directly entrance into politics. In 1992, she ran for city councilor, her first time running for a public office. Already this election she obtained great voting support, coming in as the first substitute. In 1994, she ran for the office of state representative, taking the first substitute position, taking office two years later.


Upon assuming the position of state representative in 1996, she scored her term by direct involvement with the popular movements. In 1998, Luciana Santos was re-elected state representative with 26,000 votes, almost double the votes cast in the previous election.


In 2000, Luciana Santos was elected the first female communist mayor of Brazil with more than 107,000 votes. In 2004, she was re-elected mayor of Olinda, in the first round, with about 122,000 votes. She was also Secretary of Science, Technology and Environment in Pernambuco.

She assumed the vice presidency of the PCdoB in 2009.

Elected federal deputy in 2010, she assumed leadership of the Communist slate in the second year of her term. In the Câmara dos Deputados (House of Deputies or Representatives) she sits on various committees. She is president of the Frente Parlamentar Mista em Defesa da Cultura e Desenvolvimento Urbano (Mixed Parliamentary Front in Defense of Culture and Urban Development).

Added to her political resume an opposition to neo-liberalism, commitment to Brazilian social movements, especially: the Movimento Negro (black movement) (presented the Bill establishing the third week of every month of November as the Semana da Consciência Negra (Week of Black Consciousness) in the state of Pernambuco, the indigenous movement ( in defense of their territory, showing the importance of the indigenous population of the state as the third largest in the country and supporting the Statute of Indigenous Peoples) and the women’s movement (particularly engaging in projects to improve the precarious situation of women’s health in the northeast and campaigns against violence and to combat sexual abuse and exploitation of children and adolescents).

Source: alaionline

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Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. She just look a normal Brazilian person. She could have a Portuguese back ground as she could have a mour background,

    Gosh this categorisation of if it is a non white equals black is so so so so so so American way of seeing dialetic race ( black or white)

    It has a millions of different variations of ethnic back grounds more and more with multiculturalism invading all the big cities in the world.

    What shall we do? Shall we define everyone who doesn’t have straight hair, white skin as black dot….because Americans decided that was their struggle?

    Seriously upsets me this Americanisation and fascism of the word Black.

    She might have a a father or not who is black but she is not.

    I am sure the anglophonic audience thinks she is – because is is the only thing you were trained to see it…..

    She could just be a Mediterranean lady…..she could be Jewish, she could be many things…..but not black.

  2. Julia, Brazil has the largest population of people of African descent in the Western Hemisphere. The nation has it’s own history of racism and does not need to borrow anything from the U.S. Also, blackness is more than skin pigmentation; it is also about political and social consciousness. Finally, you don’t get to decide who identifies as black. That is an individual choice.

    • Most of Brazilians don’t identified themselves as negros they identified themselves as Pardos.

      I don’t want to decide for her. If you read Portuguese you will see she had never self described herself as mulher negra. It was the author of the link who decided that.

    • My question is: why the author thought she could be described as negra?
      You are taking for granted one link.
      And perhaps your anglophonic gaze confirm your ideological and social construct perception.

      I would like to invite you to give a second gaze….

      .it doesn’t diminished her achievement as women as some one who doesn’t come from a privelege background.

  3. yes we do have the largest population of afro descendants…this doesn’t make our people not black necessary.

    Except if the anglophonic movement of blackness want us to make sure we have a political fight as understood by anglophonic audience.

    Our struggle is Pardo ( which is not brown, as many had translated in English.; Pardo is the official non-white who is not pure African, pure European, or pure indigenous.; but still not white.) why academia removed this own Brazilian construction??this construction is unique. Doesn’t diminished any racism against Pardo and negros is almost the same. But Pardo is Pardo and negro is negro.

    But this definition can’t be accepted by anglophonic audience. So let’s write negra because fits better the western supremacist discourse. Which was never the Brazilian voice….. since the colonisation is that. We import. Ideas, political fights, ideologies, systems, languages – you disarticulate our possibility to be a unique thinker when you denied us to use the word Pardo.

    If we argue against the use of black in in appropriated context; is it because I am undermining the author? wouldn’t be the author influenced by North Americans thinkers on what is blackness? Where this concept of being a black came from? Never from brazil. We have the fight for negros, for pardos, for indigenous but never the word black came to us if not through the Americanisation of the world and now the Americanisation of academic world.

    If you are defining blackness as fighting against oppression I would say again this is fascism of the word black, black cant represent all the struggles. Atleast in portuguese it cant. Why the word black have to represent the race struggles inside Brasil if our struggle is non white x white, slum people ( comunidade) x rich people ( asfalto)?

    Why the appropriation of American concepts became normalised by the anglophonic audience? Why the apropriation of American concepts became normalise inside Afro movements in brazil supported by many Americans black studies thinkers and institutions.
    Why the indigenous group has almost no representation in Usa and in Brazil? Coincidence?

    Because not even the most left wing of anglophonic understand colonisation as we lusophonic people do.

    In the end of the day you have been educated in English, you have read all the “classics” from the British empire, we had always being subjected to colonisation, geographically, economically, politically and academic….everything what became famous in Usa/ Uk/ Germany/ France became a fact in brazilian society,

    You had for centuries removed our possibility to be thinkers by ourselves. Because if I was here trying to create a militant group for Pardos I would never ever receive a fund from the American universities. But if I open a black movement you would straight forward fund my movement.

    In Orientalism as Said described beautifully the blindness of the Other, the blindness of the Other who has more political, academic power. The power structure who thinks understand orient as you have read lots about it. But you forgot one important think. Ideology. Perception and distortion of reality to please your own gaze.

    How can u say we don’t need to borrow the Americanism. no one borrow colonialism ….ideological dominance is everywhere.

    I have nothing against the sharing of experiences the more I read black movement articles more i see the Americanisation of our thoughts. Not only in brazil though.

    Brazil can be defined as an European colony until beginning of 20 century, after that an American colony.

    As Fanon said” colonisation is not satisfied merely with holding a people in its grip and emptying the natives brain of all form and content. By a kind of logic , it turns to the past of the oppressed people, and distorts, disfigures and destroys it”

    colonialism is that: they remove our sense of identity ( Pardo) and put a new one ( to became a black “American” militant) and when we see we all want to be the black militant and we forgot what we were in the first place just a group of pardos, farrapilhos as Paulo Freire beautifully described the poor pernanbucanos.

    But according to anglophonic audience he was race blind. I think you just don’t get the Brazilian way of being. The Brazilian poverty is for all races and colours. We never ever had red neck x negros as USA had. The had lived together. And mixing doesn’t exist a black culture x white culture as in USA.

    I am not saying brazil has no racism but we can’t apply American concepts as black x white. In a culture where for you beyonce, hale berry, rihana are black womem for us they are not. They are to mix to be negras, but they are not white, so they are Pardas.

    I understand anglophonic people seeing those famous ladies as black, but don’t think everyone will perceive as your culture.

    In fact for a long time we don’t have a black women singer in Usa.

    Again if you argue she can identified whatever she wants, most of Brazilians don’t identified themselves as negros ( black) so if it is for selfidentification we are not the most black nation.

    In fact the lady from the article doesn’t consider herself black. It is this link who had categorised her as such.

    I don’t know if you read Portuguese you can google her and it has quiet a few websites which call her a mulher negra. Al the others don’t say that in her website she doesn’t call herself black at all.

  4. I don’t understand why people complain of midia being a manipulative thing. Here I am giving a critique to it. I am not being rude or unpolite. And you moderate my comment!
    Why? What are you fearing? Please don’t complain if midia is racist. If my opinion don’t please your ideology you just remove it….
    She is not black for Brazilians, she never ever claimed she is black, where the author decided she is black? That is my question…., the more you all insist in this Americanisation of the gaze of race more people will mock around those debates…racism and elitism is a global problem and very serious….I said feel times let’s our (brazilian) struggle being represented by our historian and culture experience….this blog é para ingles ver… we had always well said…. We never ever had red necks x black culture. Working class Brazilian is one culture. The race struggle here it is very very different from USA. Stop to make it as it is the same. Get over the world has many many different culture different from the Usa. Why Americans have to colonise culturally everywhere….seriously if you can’t see the American black fascism invading everywhere….if you can give a space for people to share their thoughts about….you just confirm what Paulo Freire always said, the dream of the opressed is to became the oppressor not to give freedom and critical thinking.

  5. Ourstorian,

    Most of Brazilians don’t categorise themselves as negro (black) they categorised themselves as Pardo. So we are not the most Black Country according to selfidentification.

    I am not deciding for her and I would never intend to that. Different from the Afro movements who wants to convince every no white Brazilian to become a Negro.

    If you read Portuguese she never ever declared herself as Negra.

    It was the author who decided that.

    This is my critique: this text is written to please the anglophonic gaze of non-white.

    This is not the Brazilian experience of race or self identification.

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