By Mick Krever and Ken Olshansky, CNN
Days before a presidential election, opposition presidential candidate Marina Silva recalled her very remarkable upbringing in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
“I was illiterate until I was 16. I suffered five times from malaria, a few times from hepatitis, also metal poisoning. I lived in slavery. I lost my mother at fourteen.”
“If I were the result of what the past did to me, I wouldn't be here today. But I tried to do something good, productive, and creative with my past and that's why I'm here, full of energy and experience, ready to move on to the next stage.”
Brazil, South America’s economic powerhouse and host of this year’s World Cup and the next Olympics, is in the final days of a dizzying and dramatic presidential campaign – a volatile face-off between the first female president, DIlma Rousseff, and Silva, who portrays herself as David against the incumbent Goliath.
Silva’s unlikely rise from environmental activist to presidential contender was brought about by a tragic surprise, when her running-mate and Socialist party leader Eduardo Campos was killed in a plane crash this summer.
Click above to watch Amanpour’s full interview with Silva.