Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Wednesday married sociologist Rosângela da Silva in São Paulo, under strict security measures. The celebration was attended by politicians and artists who were not allowed to bring their cell phones with them.
The party started at around 6:30 pm as a group of supporters greeted Lula chanting “Olê, ole, olá, Lula, Lula, Lula.”
Among the guests were former President Dilma Rousseff, of Lula’s Worker’s Party (PT), Geraldo Alckmin, the conservative leader who will be the vice-presidential candidate Oct. 2, and singer-composer and former Culture Minister Gilberto Gil.
The bride arrived shortly before 7:30 pm. According to reports, she had pictures taken in a long white dress, designed by stylist Helô Rocha. Political rivals have accused the former labor leader Lula of throwing an ostentatious party.
Lula, aged 76, and Janja, 55 – as she is affectionately known – began their romance about four years ago when the politician was jailed in a Curitiba prison after being convicted of corruption in the Lava Jato case.
In 2021, the Supreme Federal Court (STF) annulled the sentences, thanks to which the two-time former president (2003-2010) recovered his political rights, thus allowing him to run again for the Planalto Palace this year against the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.
The PT leader said he was in love with Janja, who is 21 years his junior. He also said he felt “as if he were 20 years old.”
It will be Lula’s third marriage. The 55-year-old woman is increasingly present in the presidential campaign. Mrs. Lula is a sociologist, a feminist, and a leftist militant who has an active role in her husband’s presidential campaign.
She has already traveled with Lula to Europe and Mexico. Janja joined the PT in 1983. She has worked for the Itaipu Binacional energy company in Curitiba for over 20 years.
As a “wedding gift”, she commissioned the re-release of Lula’s famous 1989 election jingle, re-recorded by several artists for the current campaign and which she presented at the launch of his candidacy this month in São Paulo. If Lula is elected, as every poll says he will, Janja is expected to play an active role as first lady, working on food security projects.
Although Brazilian media insist the couple had known each other “for decades,” other sources maintain they began their relationship at the end of 2017, during an event that brought together left-wing activists and artists, while their romance was kept secret until May 2019, when Lula had already been in prison for over a year.
This will be Lula’s third marriage. The former president was first married in 1969, to Maria de Lourdes da Silva, who died two years later from hepatitis, and in 1974 to Marisa Leticia, with whom he had four children, who died in 2017 of a stroke.
“When you lose your wife and you think that life has no more meaning, that it’s all over, a person appears who starts to make sense of it again,” Lula told Time magazine this year.