Brazil’s First Lady Janja Lula is 21 years her husband’s junior

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Rosângela Lula da Silva, known commonly by her nickname Janja, is the First Lady of Brazil. She’s the wife of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. She is usually present at his campaign events alongside her husband, and the two are very tactile, planting kisses on one another in front of the crowds.

The 56-year-old is from Brazil, being born in União da Vitória. She studied Social Science and History at the Federal University of Paraná before she worked at a hydroelectric power plant as an assistant to the Director-General and coordinator of programs backed to sustainable development.

She also worked at Eletrobras as the institutional affairs advisor, but she left work on 1 January 2020.

Janja began dating the politician Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2017, but the relationship only became public in 2019 when she visited him in prison. They announced their engagement the day he was released, 8 November 2019, and they married on 18 May 2022 in São Paulo.

Lula was convicted of money laundering and corruption and sentenced to nine and a half years in prison in July 2017. In 2019 the Supreme Federal Court ruled the incarcerations were unlawful and he was released from prison as a result.

The court ruled all of his convictions must be nullified, as the court did not have proper jurisdiction over his case and the judge was biased. He ran again for president in the 2022 elections and won, being sworn in at the beginning of this year.

He has been president twice, serving two terms from 2003 to 2010. He is a left-wing politician and one of the founding members of the Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) or Workers’ Party in 1980.

Janja joined the Workers’ Party in 1983, and at the time she would have been 17 years old. Janja, who is interested in politics herself, shares insights into her life on her Instagram account. She recently met with “influencers for democracy” after “a month of anti-democratic attacks suffered in Brazil”.

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Not long ago she posted a sweet picture of herself and her husband, looking adoringly at him. She quoted her husband in the caption, writing: “‘When you invest in food for the people, in the health of the people and in the education of the people, this is not spent. It is called an investment.’ My look of admiration says it all! Let’s take care of those who need it most and restore the dignity of the Brazilian people.”

The two shared their support for Brazil in the world cup, posting a sweet picture together wearing the team colours.

Pesident Lula has been married three times. His first marriage ended tragically, with his wife Maria dying of hepatitis while pregnant with their son, who also died.

He then married Marisa Letícia Rocco Casa in 1974, staying married for 43 years. They had three sons and Lula adopted her first son, too. Sadly, Marisa died of a stroke in 2017.

The president is the seventh of eight children, raised by farmers who experienced harsh famines. He had very little education and didn’t learn to read until age 10.

Lula quit school to support his family, getting his first job at just eight as a street vendor. At age 12 he worked as a shoe shiner and from 14 he worked in a warehouse.

It was an injury sustained at work that spurred his political career. Lula lost the little finger on his left hand while working as a press operator at age 19. He was forced to run to several hospitals to seek medical attention, an experience that left him more interested in union activities.

Lula has described his politics as the “socialism of the 21st century”, and is similar to social liberalism. He has said he is “personally against” abortion but believes it should be treated as a public health issue.

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