Armored by PT, Janja breaks with Prime Minister and updates Lula – 09/01/2022

Sociologist Rosângela da Silva, 56, —a Janja— had just suffered a heartbreak when, in November 2017, she approached former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, 76.

At the time, she lived in Curitiba (PR), where she worked at the office of Itaipu Binacional, while Lula — already convicted by the then federal judge Sergio Moro in the Guarujá triplex case — was recovering in ABC Paulista from mourning the death of his second wife. , Marisa Letícia, nine months before.

The PT activist saw in the meeting with Lula a new chance to love. Dating progressed fast. The new couple’s first social event took place the following month, in December, at the inauguration of the MST (Movimento Sem Terra) soccer field in Guararema, 80 km from the capital of São Paulo. presented on the occasion. From that day on, Chico started to be called “dindo” by Janja — it was in this soccer match, organized by the composer, that he officially started dating Lula.

In the wake of the new relationship, Janja —a self-proclaimed samba dancer— preferred to spend Carnival away from the street blocks. The couple then isolated themselves in Maresias, on the north coast of São Paulo, a few days after Lula was convicted in the second instance in the triplex case.

They saw those days of silence and walks by the sea as a respite amidst the turmoil of Lava Jato — three years later, the conviction that led Lula to prison was overturned by the STF (Supreme Federal Court).

Weeks after the trip, the then presidential candidate began his caravans through the south of the country. Janja was with him in Chapecó (SC) and Foz do Iguaçu (PR) for fear that he would be arrested before Easter. The couple managed to flee again to Maresias, where they spent the holiday — Lula was arrested a week later, on April 7.

She said goodbye to Lula at the headquarters of the ABC Metalworkers Union, in São Bernardo do Campo (SP), before her boyfriend was taken to the Federal Police prison in Curitiba. Janja closely followed Lula’s meeting with artists, cried when he saw him say goodbye to activists, but remained behind the scenes, without going up on stage where he spoke.

During his 580 days in prison, Janja wrote letters to Lula daily.

I will be by your side and whatever life you decide to have, I will be living with you. We will build our history.”
Excerpt from a letter written by Janja to Lula

At each full moon, the sociologist counted how many months were apart and said that the moon brought them together. Lula, in turn, still in prison, maintained his romanticism — he sent flowers to Janja on special dates, such as Valentine’s Day and the sociologist’s birthday.

She visited Lula at the PF in Curitiba every Thursday, when the visit was allowed.

Just over a year after the arrest, in May 2019, former minister Bresser Pereira announced on social media what friends already knew: the couple was in love and would get married.

On the day of his release, six months later, Janja stood by Lula’s side at all times — on camera, Lula kissed her and introduced her as his bride. Shortly after her release, the then career servant resigned from Itaipu.

Last May, Lula and Janja were married in a restricted ceremony in São Paulo.

Image: Art/UOL

‘Beside, mate, beside’

This is Janja’s answer to those who say that behind a great man, there is always a great woman.

In recent months, he gained prominence in the electoral campaign as an independent personality and became an asset of the PT campaign. PT members, however, view with concern the use of Janja’s exposition by opponents to attack Lula, as has already been done by Bolsonaristas.

Last week, on an agenda without Lula in downtown Rio — he was preparing to be interviewed in Jornal Nacional —, she rebutted criticism of his stance.

There’s no gag in my mouth. In my party, women can speak. Nobody says what I can and can’t say.”

For interlocutors in the PT, if there is annoyance with Janja, the origin is machismo, since she breaks with the traditional “primeiro-damismo” — in which candidates’ wives are in the background.

The consensus is that the sociologist —with her spontaneous flair—has become pop and there is no way to restrict her, given her free access to Lula and the campaign.

Janja has, however, been shielded, with clear recommendations for PT members and friends to avoid interviews about her. The sociologist —who also does not grant interviews—did not respond to requests from the UOL.

Image: Art/UOL

‘Whoever has it, take care’

Behind the scenes, Janja mobilizes artists — for campaign jingles and meetings with Lula — and updates his agenda by building bridges with the new black, feminist and LGBTQIA+ militancy.

On the stage of the rallies, he sings and cheers the audience. The tone of her speech is about rescuing “love” from the “hate”, which she associates with the campaign for Jair Bolsonaro (PL).

Janja accompanies Lula in all the events around the country, meetings with leaders and meetings with businessmen.

Under a scorching sun in Guaranhuns (PE), the former president’s birthplace, an aide gave Janja a cap, which she took to her husband. “Love,” she called out, already placing the accessory on his head.

“Whoever has it, take care,” a smiling Lula told the audience, before resuming his speech at the end of July.

In Rio, also in July, Lula complained of thirst while speaking. Seconds later, Janja took a bottle to her husband and joked: “I wanted my hand, right?”.

If one meeting lasts longer than expected, another will be shorter —Janja is non-negotiable with the time reserved for Lula’s lunch and rest.

These gestures are welcomed, since in the campaign that led to his first term, Lula was 20 years younger. Today, according to PT members, more care is needed with the ex-president — who hates being called an “old man”, according to his wife.

Janja - Art/UOL - Art/UOL
Image: Art/UOL

‘Can I dream of the duet?’

Shortly before the wedding, Janja had already starred in the most mediatic act of the pre-campaign: the new version of Lula’s jingle. To organize the recording, Janja personally called artists and worked out the concept.

All this articulation began, however, well before the jingle. In March, when the singer Ludmilla — previously criticized for allegedly supporting Jair Bolsonaro —, appeared in photos next to Lula, it was an uproar.

Their meeting was also an articulation of Janja. Upon learning that the singer had expressed her vote for Lula to people close to her, the ex-president’s wife saw an opportunity there to, once again, give the campaign a more modern look.

Another long-awaited support for Lula’s campaign was that of Anitta. After the murder of PT candidate Marcelo Arruda in Foz do Iguaçu, the singer from Rio de Janeiro declared her vote for Lula in the first round. Janja’s immediate response was, “Can you dream of a duet on TikTok already?”.

Since then, Janja has tried to arrange a face-to-face meeting between the former president and the singer, who already exchange audio via WhatsApp.

Janja - Art/UOL - Art/UOL
Image: Art/UOL

Card holder

Janja has been officially affiliated to the PT since October 26, 1985, when she was 19 years old. Her militancy was mainly on the streets, working on campaigns. She maintained a good dialogue with the direction of the PT sector in Paraná.

Since the Lula Livre vigil, a camp set up in front of the PF in Curitiba, Janja it is a bridge between the militancy and Lula.

The sociologist arrived in space already with the status of first lady for Lula’s hard core. She was immediately welcomed by Nicole brionesfrom Lula’s communication team, by Ricardo Stuckert, the former president’s photographer, and by PT advisor Marco Aurélio Santana Ribeiro, Marcola.

The group joined neudiclea from Oliveira, from MAB (Movement of People Affected by Dams), today one of the closest friends of Janjawhich accompanies her in all agendas.

The “little clique”, as the group of friends called itself, accompanied Lula during his 580 days in prison, which made him Janja he also got close to Lula’s old friends and historical figures from the PT, in addition to the PT’s family.

When lurianLula’s firstborn, his granddaughter Bia and his great-granddaughter analua are in one act, all stay close to Janja.

With the maintenance of Lula’s prison, Janja he engaged as best he could in Fernando Haddad’s (PT) campaign for the presidency, while keeping his duties on the watch.

Janja - Art/UOL - Art/UOL
Image: Art/UOL

Ease of political articulation

Between 2003 and 2019, Janja worked as a field sociologist at Itaipu.

Despite her main work being in coordination related to energy and dams —including dialogue with affected families—, she made an effort to work with sectors that discussed women’s rights.

“When we started working together, we ran a campaign to fight violence against women, and she organized meetings and activities”, says Maria Helena Guarezi, then one of the directors of Itaipu and now a personal friend of Janja’s.

Janja makes use of the skill of political articulation until today, according to interlocutors. In March, she organized a meeting between Lula and leaders from favelas and outskirts of the metropolitan region, together with PT members in Rio. Three months later, on a new visit to Rio, the meeting was repeated.

Janja also participated in the negotiations for Lula’s meeting with sambistas at the Unidos da Tijuca court, also in Rio, in July. Behind the scenes, there was a fear of inviting singer Neguinho da Beija-Flor. After the breakup of a friendship of years, Neguinho and Lula drifted apart.

Concerned, the organization took the matter to Janja, who assured that Neguinho could go to the meeting — and talk to Lula. The two made up in the dressing room after the date.

While working at Itaipu, Janja was assigned for approximately four years to Eletrobras, in Rio de Janeiro. In 2016, she returned to Paraná and, with the beginning of the government of Michel Temer (MDB), after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff (PT), she began to feel like she was in a refrigerator at Itaipu.

Still, Janja managed to maintain some activities, but with more difficulty than ten years before. When Lula was released, Janja entered the voluntary resignation program.

Janja - Art/UOL - Art/UOL
Image: Art/UOL

Rio, samba and religion

Janja has a passion for Rio, likes Carnival, music shows, football stadiums and soap operas. In the “city of the heart”, she lived on the edge of Ipanema, in the south zone, and on another busy street in the neighborhood.

A defender of animals, Janja was involved in actions to collect food and supplies for dogs in Rio.

Whenever she moved, Janja took her mother, whom she considered her best friend. During the coronavirus pandemic, Vani Terezinha da Silva died at the age of 80 of covid-19 after 21 days hospitalized in an ICU, in October 2020.

The sociologist never hid her religion and publicly expressed longing for the terreiros, closed during the height of the pandemic. In addition to Iansã, orixá who takes care of her head, she exalts Oxum, Iemanjá, Ogun and Xangô.

‘Young lady with her own mind’

Janja’s leading role draws attention when compared to other politicians’ wives. Janja has a modern style and wears fun t-shirts with Lula’s image, despite some critical comments she sees on the networks.

Janja agrees with those who call “no purpose” comments that compare her to Marisa Letícia and criticize her, saying that Janja should be “more discreet”.

Despite the exposure on social media, she still seems unknown to the general public. The searches associated with her name on Google are superficial — searches about her age, whether she has children, whether she has ever been married and questions about her wedding dress.

Namely: the sociologist has no children, has been in other relationships — none with known political actors — and turned 56 on the 27th.

The public’s curiosity about Janja’s personal life motivated one of Lula’s video pieces.

In a short video entitled “Know who Lula married”, the campaign hooks the curious, but says that “Lula marries” democracy and social inclusion, in addition to Janja and Brazil.

About the position that Janja may occupy in an eventual third term of Lula, the former president himself answered, in an interview with UOL.

“I didn’t ask her. She’s a thoughtful young lady, good head, sometimes better than mine. She’ll have the freedom to think what she wants to do to help me.”

The article is in Portuguese

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