Bulgaria's Gabrovo Caught Up in Excitement over Dilma Visit

Politics » DIPLOMACY | October 6, 2011, Thursday // 12:16
Bulgaria: Bulgaria's Gabrovo Caught Up in Excitement over Dilma Visit Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who is in Bulgaria as part of her European tour, will visit Thursday, her father’s birthplace - the central city of Gabrovo. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The citizens of Gabrovo, a small town in central Bulgaria, where the father of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff was born, have been caught up in excitement over her upcoming visit.

Rousseff will visit Gabrovo on October 6 as President of one of the world's greatest nations and her relatives and supporters here, proud to have links with such a high-profile politician, say they hope she will recover her roots.

Dilma Rousseff's father, Peter Rousev, was born in 1900 in the town of Gabrovo, but left Bulgaria for both economic and political reasons (he was a communist), looking for a better job and a brighter future.

In Gabrovo Dilma Rousseff will be able to see and receive her ancestry tree. In addition, the History Museum in Gabrovo, has prepared a display dedicated to the Bulgarian origins of Dilma Rousseff.

Krasimira Cholakova, a historian working for the museum and researching the history of the kin, tells the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, the family's roots have been traced to the village of Tsotsomani, near Gabrovo, and to a man named Russi, making the latter the first one in the 598-people in the extended ancestry tree. In addition, the first female president of Brazil turned out to be a relative of the first female mayor in Bulgaria.

Cholakova points out that the Rousseff family has given to world one president – Dilma, one Bulgarian minister, Gen. Russi Rousseff, one mayor of Gabrovo, Hristo Rousseff, and Petrana Rousseva – the first female mayor in Bulgaria.

In addition to the ancestry tree, the museum has as gift for the Brazilian President a catalogue in three languages with data about the family and kin related to it.

It is expected that Rousseff will visit a photo exhibition, revealing details of her genealogy, despite her short stay in Gabrovo of less than two hours.

She however won't have time to tour another major tourist attraction in the town - the House of Humor and Satire. It was conceived by communist officials in a bid to cultivate an image of Bulgaria as an open country, along with the annual carnival, a kind of comic Mardi Gras that was the biggest attraction in Gabrovo for outsiders.

The exhibition "Smiles from Brazil", now displayed at the House of Humor and Satire, is a symbolic salute to the Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.

The special collection includes 31 works by 11 Brazilian and two Bulgarian cartoonists. Three of the cartoons feature Dilma as seen by Bulgarian artists Ivailo Tsvetkov, Valeri Alexandrov and their Brazilian colleague Nelson Castro Sampaio.

The Brazilian president is pictured traveling on a bus from Brazil to Gabrovo and dancing to the tunes of traditional Bulgarian and Brazilian folklore music. On the third cartoon by Nelson Castro Sampaio she is seen shaking hands with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, big smiles on their faces.

Gabrovo calls itself the international capital of humor and its people have a reputation for being thrifty, willing to haggle, and inventive when it comes to money.

True to their funny nature, they are already planning how to profit from Rousseff's link to the town, saying Brazilian investors may learn a lot from them about crisis management.

The mayor has even suggested cooperation between Gabrovo spring carnival of humor and the carnival in Rio.

The citizens of the hard-luck but endearing Bulgarian town at the foot of the central Balkans also hope that the visit will inspire them to change their lives for the better.

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Tags: Brazilian, Brazil, Bulgarian, Dilma, Rousseff, Gabrovo, Bulgaria, Rio

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