She was born in the Frauengefängnis Barnimstraße although she was handed to the care of her paternal grandmother, Leocádia Prestes, at age 14 months.
In 1964, Prestes achieved a degree in Chemistry from the then “University of Brazil”, now known as the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). Two years later she gained a Masters in Organic Chemistry.
At the beginning of the 1970s, Prestes moved into exile in the USSR (present day Russia). In August 1972, she was indicted in Brazil for political activities, with the Conselho Permanente de Justiça para Exército (the Army supreme court) sentencing her in absence to 4 .5 years in prison.
In December 1975 Prestes added a Doctorate in Political Economics from the Institute of Social Science in Moscow and four years later in September 1979, the Brazilian courts reduced Prestes’s sentence by four years as part of a wider amnesty.
In 1989 Prestes received a Doctorate in History from the Universidade Federal Fluminense, with a thesis named A Coluna Prestes (The Prestes Column), which was the movement commanded by her father of almost 1500 men trying to struggle the presidency of Artur Bernardes. Anita is presently a Retired Associate Professor of Brazilian History, but she continues teaching on the Master’s and Doctorate’s Compared History Program at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).