Janja, Lula’s Wife, Will Give a New Meaning to First Lady

The future first lady of Brazil, Rosângela Lula da Silva, nicknamed Janja, will work to “give a new meaning to what it means to be a first lady.” Brazil’s president elect Lula and wife Janja are partners in love and work.

This contrasts with the decorative and submissive role of many First Ladies in Brazil and around the world.

The modern woman and former executive Rosangela Lula da Silva ( Janja ), assumes wide participation in Brazilian politics without holding public office.

Exuding happiness in a bright red dress, while carefully changing the pages as her husband read the victory speech, in which he addressed a sea of euphoric supporters, Brazil’s next first lady Janja was the face of love.

Her husband Lula won the presidential election in Brazil, capping a remarkable political comeback- and his new wife was elated at his side.

Lula had been convicted of alleged corruption charges and was imprisoned for 580 days during 2018 and 2019. At the time, Janja was with a large group gathered outside the jail in solidarity with Lula in Curitiba, capital of the state of Paraná, and frequently exchanged correspondence with him.

Janja, a 56-year-old sociologist and left-wing activist, married Lula in May 2022, who is 21 years her senior, and widowed twice.

Lula had been sentenced, by a lower court, to 12 years and one month in prison.

Brazil’s Supreme Court reversed Lula’s conviction and he was released after 580 days. The Minister (Judge) of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) Edson Fachin decided to annul all procedural decisions taken against former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ( Workers Party ) by the Federal Court of Paraná within the Lava Jato Operation.

Solidarity Letter from Pope Francis to Lula in Prison and Visits

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva released on May 29, 2019, on his official website, a letter in which Pope Francis regrets the “hard trials” that Lula has gone through since his arrest in April 2018. Lula is also cancer-survivor.

Pope Francis: “the truth will conquer the lie”… “I want […] to encourage you, asking you not to be discouraged and to continue trusting in God”, the Pope wrote at the end of the message.

It is not the first time the Pope has corresponded with the former president since his arrest in April 2018.

On 13 February 2020 Pope Francis received Lula in a private audience in the Vatican that lasted about an hour. This was particularly important since Lula spent about one year and a half in prison.

Meeting came one day after the Argentine pontiff released his major document on the Amazon, in which he denounced the destruction of the rainforest and the exploitation of indigenous peoples.

During the time Lula was imprisoned, he received hundreds of visitors from Brazil and from various parts of the world. Some examples: Alberto Fernandez, candidate for the presidency of Argentina who was later elected president; Danny Glover, American activist and actor; Roberto Gualtieri, Member of the European Parliament; Sharan Burrow, secretary general of the International Trade Union Confederation; Noam Chomsky, American philosopher, linguist and one of the world’s greatest intellectuals; Chico Buarque, famous singer and songwriter, winner of the Camões Prize; Perez Esquivel, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, former Minister of Human Rights in the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration and UN rapporteur; Leonardo Boff, theologian and writer; Frei Betto, theologian and writer; Dilma Rousseff, former president of Brazil; Pepe Mujica, former president of Uruguay; Eduardo Duhalde, former president of Argentina; Ernesto Samper, former president of Colombia; Massimo D’Alema, former prime minister of Italy; Luiz Henrique da Silva, from the coordination of the National Movement of Recyclable Material Collectors (MNCR); Cohen nun; Friar Sérgio Görgen ; Rabbi Jayme Fucs ; Pastor Ariovaldo Ramos, one of the founders of the Evangelicals Front for the Rule of Law, etc…

Janja ‘s Academic and Professional Background

The future First Lady Janja holds a degree in sociology from the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), a specialization in history and an MBA in social management and sustainability from Universidade Positivo.

She started her career at Croma Engenharia, at Usina Hidrelétrica Barra Grande, as published in her profile on the social network Linkedin.

In 2005, at the age of 38, she joined the gigantic hydroelectric plant – Itaipu Binacional, located on the Paraná River, on the border between Brazil and Paraguay, where she worked for almost 20 years. She worked as assistant to the director-general and coordinator of programs aimed at sustainable development.

She was also a university professor of sociology in the courses of business, economics, accounting and engineering.

Despite having actively campaigned for Lula in the midst of the ex-president’s, bruising divisive election campaign against far-right incumbent President Jair Messias Bolsonaro, the newlyweds have appeared to be on an extended honeymoon ever since.

Lula credits Janja with giving him new life after the 2017 death of his wife of 30 years, Marisa Leticia, with whom he had four children.

“I am in love as if I were 20 years old,” the former- and now future- president says of his wife, a long-time member of the Workers’ Party.

Their age difference seems to have breathed new energy into Lula, whose first wife, Maria de Lourdes, died in 1971 and second wife Marisa da Silva who passed away from a stroke (brain death) on February 3, 2017.

“When you lose your wife and you think, well, my life has no more meaning, then, suddenly this person appears, who makes you feel like you want to live again,” he told the local press.

Twenty years younger than Lula, Janja was born in 1966 in the city of União da Vitória, in the state of Paraná. As a baby, she moved to the capital Curitiba. The youngest of two siblings, she is the daughter of Terezinha da Silva, a housewife who died in 2020, and José Clóvis da Silva, an 82-year-old retired trader.

At just 17 years old, the new first lady joined the PT ( Workers’ Party ). Janja also worked at Eletrobras (Centrais Elétricas Brasileiras SA,) a publicly traded Brazilian company that acts as a holding company, divided into generation, transmission and distribution, created in 1962, initially as a State-owned company, to coordinate all companies in the electricity sector, was privatized in 2022. Janja worked as a communications and institutional relations advisor from 2012 to 2016. According to Veja magazine, Rosângela has been married for over ten years and has no children.

Janja was little known in Lula’s political environment. She is known for fighting for women’s rights and the protection of animals.

Janja ‘s role in the election

“ Janja is a very politicized person, has a good political head and is very feminist,” Lula revealed in September 2021 in an interview with rapper Mano Brown.

Despite having her participation in the campaign questioned by some of Lula’s allies at first, Janja had a prominent role when participating in various campaign acts. 

Janja is seen with an opposite profile of Lula’s former first lady, Marisa Letícia, who preferred to stay out of the spotlight. Eliane Cantanhêde, political analyst for the GloboNews channel and columnist for the conservative newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo was accused of machismo after saying that the future first lady “has been taking up too much political space”.
The statement took place on November 11, on the GloboNews program Em Pauta. At the time, the journalist questioned why Janja was sitting next to Lula, vice president-elect Geraldo Alckmin (PSB), and PT president Gleisi Hoffman.

The journalist added: “If Janja already has such an important political role during the transition from one government to another (President-elect Lula will be sworn in on January 1, 2023) imagine the power she will have during Lula’s government.”

Gone are the days when Brazil had “modest and homely” first ladies with a solely secondary and submissive role. Janja represents millions of Brazilian women who fight for equality and fight patriarchy. @ JanjaLula demonstrates that her strength is infinite And your role is UNIQUE ! Basically, this is how politicians who support Lula expressed themselves and statements by several people who reacted on social networks.


Brazil is a very sexist country, women often earn less than men for the same work, but the worst thing is the large number of murders of women by men, feminicides, often committed by a husband or boyfriend.

In 14 of Brazil’s 27 states, lethal violence against women has increased. The biggest increases were registered in the states of Acre (69.5%), Rio Grande do Norte (54.9%), Ceará (51.5%) and Amazonas (51.4%).

On the other hand, Espírito Santo (-59.4%), São Paulo (-42.9%), Paraná (-41.7%) and Federal District (-41.7%) had the lowest rates, with a reduction in cases of violence against women.

In Rio Grande do Norte there is an average of 5.4 deaths of women for each group of 100 thousand women in the state. This places Rio Grande do Norte in 5th place among the most violent states for women across the country. The information was taken from the Atlas of Violence 2021, released in November 2021.

The psychologist at the Santos Dumont Institute (ISD), Carla Glenda Souza da Silva, analyzes that “More women began to report through social networks and use them as a channel for mistreatment, aggression, threats, domestic violence. People are having more access to whistleblowing channels and this is very important. But there is still a lot of fear. Many women have aggressive partners involved in illicit activities, for example”, says the psychologist, who holds a PhD in Health Sciences from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN).

One of the priorities of the future First Lady Janja is to do what she can to fight machismo and feminicide.

“I am a person who is purposeful. That doesn’t sit. That goes and does,” said Janja to TV Globo on November 13, 2022, in her first official interview.

The next first lady of Brazil tells how her performance will be in the new Lula government: “To bring to light some themes that I carry in my history, which is the issue of violence against women. Food, yes, is another important commitment. And, of course, the issue of racism.”

As of January 1, 2023, the first lady of Brazil will be a 56-year-old woman from Paraná with an open smile. For the first time, she gets a TV crew to tell her story. TV Globo spoke with the woman who is a strong and constant presence alongside Lula.

During the interview, Janja said that “ former First Lady of Argentina, Evita Perón, who has become a symbol in Argentina for her fight against hunger and pro-poor action, and Michelle Obama, are two women who inspire Janja. much.”

Racism in Brazil

Data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) show that Brazil has more than 120 million black people, people who declare themselves to be black or brown, and this represents 56% of the population of the country. They are the majority, but a majority that live with a very different reality from other Brazilians.

In relation to whites, black people have, on average, lower levels of education and income and higher levels of mortality and unemployment. Many theories can explain the origins of these inequalities, one, in particular, that gains a lot of attention and also provokes criticism, is that of structural racism.

Brazil was the last country on the American continent to abolish slavery, and freed blacks did not receive any kind of government aid so that they could survive. Researchers say that, with the lack of opportunities and racism, the picture of inequality has been perpetuated in the country and has repercussions to this day.

Lula’s Priority is Fighting Hunger

In a recent speech Lula cried when saying that the priority of his government will be the fight against hunger that plagues millions of Brazilians. “If, when I finish my term, every Brazilian is drinking coffee, lunch and dinner, I will be the happiest politician in my life again”

Lula knows what he’s talking about. He was born into a very poor family in the state of Pernambuco in the arid Northeast and went hungry as a child. His life only improved when the family moved to São Paulo, Brazil’s industrial capital, where he became a lathe worker and later a union leader that catapulted him into political life.

As president-elect for the third time, Lula criticized what he called the search for fiscal responsibility at the expense of the poorest. “Why are people forced to suffer to ensure this country’s fiscal responsibility? Why do they say all the time that it is necessary to cut expenses, make a surplus, and meet the spending ceiling? Why do we have an inflation target and not a growth target?” He asked….

A survey showed that 125.2 million Brazilians live with some degree of food insecurity, a number that corresponds to more than half (58.7%) of the country’s population.

More than 33 million people in the country have nothing to eat. This is what the 2nd National Survey on Food Insecurity in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic in Brazil reveals. There are 14 million new people in a situation of hunger in little more than a year. At the end of 2020 there were 19 million. That’s an increase of 7.2% since 2020, and 60% compared to 2018.

The country has regressed to a level equivalent to that of the 1990s, according to a survey carried out by the Brazilian Research Network on Food and Nutrition Sovereignty and Security (Rede Penssan ). Statistics were collected between November 2021 and April 2022, based on interviews in 12,700 households, in urban and rural areas of 577 municipalities, distributed across 26 states and the Federal District. Food Security and Food Insecurity were measured, once again, by the Brazilian Food Insecurity Scale ( Ebia ), which is also used by the IBGE.

The recent edition of the survey shows that 58.7% of the Brazilian population lives with food insecurity to some degree. In absolute numbers, there are 125.2 million Brazilians without regular and permanent access to food.

President Bolsonaro discouraged vaccination against Covid-19 and encouraged Machismo.

Is President Bolsonaro potentially a cannibal?

The campaign of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ( Workers Party ) used, in its space in the television electoral propaganda, a controversial statement given by President Jair Bolsonaro in 2016. In the video, the then federal deputy says he would eat meat from Amazon Indians.

The statement was given during an interview with The New York Times. Bolsonaro recounts his stay with the Yanomami Indians to the reporter and claims that they would be cannibalistic people.

“The Indian died and they are cooking, they cook the Indian, it’s their culture. It cooks for two or three days, and eats with bananas. what to eat’, then I said, “I eat”, declared Bolsonaro.

The interview, which was filmed, went viral on social media where President Jair Bolsonaro appears telling a journalist that he almost “ate an Indian” who would have been “cooked” by the indigenous people and contains lies and misinformation about the Yanomami people of Roraima.

Yanomami Junior Hekurari, president of Condisi (Council of the Indigenous Health District) Yanomami, said he was outraged when he watched the recording.

“We Yanomami of Surucucu are not cannibals, we never had that. There is no report [about it]. Neither ancestral nor current accounts. This president has no respect for human beings. He makes it up in his head, because he doesn’t care about Brazil. At Sucurucu there is an army platoon and good partnership with the Yanomami.”

Lawyers for Brazil’s president argued that Mr. Bolsonaro was displaying “deference” to Indigenous culture when he said that he would eat an Indigenous person.

Siding with Mr. Bolsonaro, Brazil’s electoral court ordered the removal of political ads linking the president to cannibalism (NY Times).

President Bolsonaro did not contribute to the reduction of machismo

The President made frequent public statements despising women and insulted women journalists and even another parliamentarian with sexist sayings. President Bolsonaro, who has three children, told reporters that “I had a daughter in a moment of weakness”.

The key to Lula’s electoral victory was major victories in the Northeast, an arid and poor region of Brazil, victory among women, who are a majority of Brazilians, and blacks and the poor who are also the majority of the population.

President Discouraged Vaccination Against Covid-19 and the Use of Masks

President Jair Bolsonaro is the only political leader in history to discourage vaccination, says French historian Laurent-Henri Vignaud, author of the book Antivax – Resistance to vaccines from the 18th century to the present and a professor at the University of Bourgogne.

“It’s possible that Bolsonaro is a unique example. I wouldn’t know how to cite another”, the historian told BBC News Brazil, who portrayed in his book the history of anti-vaccination movements since the development of the first immunization, against smallpox, carried out by the doctor English Edward Jenner in 1796.

President Bolsonaro has almost never been seen in public with a mask on his face and claims he has never been vaccinated. After a drop in opinion polls, Bolsonaro changed the tone of his speech in relation to vaccines against Covid-19, but he spent months, during the pandemic, openly making comments that discouraged immunization, creating doubts about its effectiveness in combating the disease. Covid-19.

Jair Bolsonaro tries to make invisible the more than 687,000 people killed by Covid-19 in this pandemic that still has no end date. Just as it wants to “throw under the rug” the suffering of family members who have lost their loved ones and the hundreds of thousands who survived the new Coronavirus, with its sequelae and traumas, said several doctors.

The outburst was made by social worker and postgraduate student in Human Rights Paola Falceta, president and founder of Avico Brasil, an association that brings together victims and family members of Covid. The entity offers psychological, legal and social assistance to survivors of the disease and relatives of those killed by the infection, as well as assistance in labor and social security claims. The group is still seeking redress in court in relation to the negligence of the Bolsonaro government.

“In addition to the pain of losing our loved ones, we face the daily struggle against ‘ fake ‘ news ‘ on Bolsonarista social networks, increasingly violent, that massacre us. The government denies killing children and adolescents. It’s necropolitics and science denialism,” said Paola, referring to President Bolsonaro’s speech.

Fires in the Amazon Rainforest

Shortly after the second round of the presidential elections, wildfires went off in an uncontrolled way in several states in the Amazon, according to data from the Queimadas Program of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The worst case is Rondônia, where 1,526 fires were registered between November 1 and 10. The value is about 10 times higher than the average recorded in this period between 2012 and 2021 (149 outbreaks).

The fires also shot up in the states of Acre, Amazonas and Mato Grosso, while they tend to reduce in this period of onset of rains. In all of them, the values are far above the averages recorded between 2012 and 2021 for the first 10 days of November. In Acre, although the number of outbreaks is lower than in Rondônia, the increase is even more frightening, with almost 22 times more outbreaks than the average (882 outbreaks against 40). In Mato Grosso, there were 858 outbreaks, more than 3 times above the average (226 outbreaks). In Amazonas, there were 758 outbreaks, a number almost four times higher than the average (197 outbreaks), according to WWF-Brasil.

The explosion of fires and deforestation shortly after the second round of elections also seems to confirm the fears of environmentalists, who predicted an acceleration of environmental crimes in the last two months of the year, given the expectation that the next Lula government will recover the system of environmental Protection.

“President Bolsonaro is about to leave and there is a feeling among those who profit from illegality that the window of opportunity is closing. The new government will have a lot of work to do to get the country back on track, to end this perception that the Amazon is a lawless land. It will have to restructure Ibama, the government agency for environmental protection, ICMBio and the Federal Police, putting people with experience back in the most important positions, recovering the budget, resuming a consistent strategy to fight deforestation and organized crime in the region, that was strengthened during the years of collaboration of the Bolsonaro government”, says Raul do Valle, specialist in Public Policies at WWF-Brasil

As a veteran international journalist I constantly see in the Brazilian press and international media President-elect Lula referred to as a “leftist” politician. His vice-President elect is Geraldo Alckmin, formerly of the PSDB party, a centrist party and a former Governor of São Paulo, who is considered a center-right politician.

Is Lula a Leftist Politician? The evidence below does not demonstrate this.

Alckmin, chosen to be Vice President of Lula was governor of São Paulo, Brazil’s most industrialized state. In 2006, he lost a presidential bid to Lula and had the backing of moderate right wing forces.

Among other decisions, part of this construction was the choice of the candidate for Lula’s vice, the billionaire businessman José Alencar Gomes da Silva (1931–2011) when he died of cancer. Alencar was the founder of the textile giant Coteminas. He was Lula’s vice president from 2002 to 2010.

Considered one of the most respected figures in the international financial area, Henrique Meirelles was the international president of BankBoston; president of the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB), a position he held from 2003 to 2011 during the Lula government.

Now Lula has formed a coalition of 15 parties from the left to the center, and from the moderate right, in an attempt to garner support in a Congress dominated by the right and especially by the growth of the Bolsonarista right.

The correct adjective to define Lula ideologically would be pragmatism with a strong social or social democratic commitment. As a union leader in the 1970s and early 1980s during the Military Dictatorship, Lula perfected an outstanding ability to negotiate with businessmen and authorities of many ideological hues.

The far-right government of President Jair Bolsonaro (a dictatorship enthusiast (1964-1985) who told local newspapers that the military killed few people and that he publicly approved the torture of opponents of the dictatorship. Elected in 2018, is leaving a country fractured and filled with hate.

There was a lot of hatred and some political violence during the period of government of former Captain Bolsonaro who often threatened democracy “if the elections are not fair”. Finally, even with a commission of experts in technologies, the military recognized that the elections were fair in addition to civil organizations such as the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and the Organization of Brazilian Lawyers (OAB) among others.

Lula wants to reconcile a fractured and divided country

President-elect Lula expressed admiration for Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948), who was an Indian pacifist leader and main personality of the independence of India, then a British colony. Lula sees one of the main tasks of his presidency as reconciling a fractured and divided country and reducing or ending the hunger that plagues 32 million Brazilians and has millions more suffering from food insecurity.

The victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ( Workers Party ) in the second round of the elections Brazilian presidential elections made international headlines and was quickly recognized by world leaders, who head around 90 countries. Among them, US President Joe Biden. But it was Emmanuel Macron, the president of France — Europe’s second-largest economy — who was one of the first global leaders to recognize the PT’s victory.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez celebrated Lula’s victory and called on the new government to fight climate change.

Dozens of heads of state congratulated Lula and wished him luck in returning to democracy and protecting the environment, especially reversing the tremendous fires in the Amazon.

Peter Howard Wertheim and Dayse Abrantes, international journalists, political and economic analysts. For years contributing to American and Norwegian publications on oil and gas, fiber optics and power grids. Currently contributors of articles on Information Technology (IT) for the startup The Bridge Social, based in Santiago de Chile, present in several Latin American countries and in Miami. Peter was born in Brazil and naturalized Swedish citizen and Dayse is a Brazilian citizen. Both are fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish. They can be contacted via email: hwpeter15@gmail.com


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