Brazil's Silva hits back at rumors, recalls hungry youth

miércoles 17 de septiembre de 2014 11:29 GYT

By Brian Winter

SAO PAULO, Sept 17 (Reuters) - In an emotional new television ad, Brazilian presidential candidate Marina Silva hit back at rumors that she would do away with popular social welfare programs if elected, citing her own youth growing up poor and hungry in the Amazon rainforest.

The ad, which ran late Tuesday, went viral on social media and could swing some momentum back in Silva's favor after recent polls showed her support sagging as she battles to unseat leftist President Dilma Rousseff in Brazil's Oct. 5 election.

Silva, an environmentalist running on a pro-market platform, lashed out at what she described as Rousseff's recent negative campaigning and denied that she would halt the popular decade-old "Bolsa Familia" program, which pays a monthly stipend to poor families.

"I know what it's like to be hungry," Silva said. "All my mother had (to feed) eight children was an egg and a little bit of flour and salt."

Choking back tears, Silva recalled how her parents often went more than a day without eating but disguised their hunger so as not to worry their children.

"Whoever lived through that experience will never do away with 'Bolsa Familia'," Silva thundered. "That's not rhetoric. That's my life."

The ad was mentioned on the front page of some newspapers on Wednesday and appeared to strike a nerve in a country where more than half of households earn less than $1,000 a month.   Continuación...