Marisa Letícia Lula da Silva

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Marisa Letícia Lula da Silva
Marisa Letícia Lula da Silva.jpg
First Lady of Brazil
In role
1 January 2003 – 1 January 2011
Preceded by Ruth Cardoso
Succeeded by Marcela Temer (2016)
Personal details
Born Marisa Letícia Rocco Casa
(1950-04-07)7 April 1950
São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil
Died 3 February 2017(2017-02-03) (aged 66)
São Paulo, Brazil
Cause of death Stroke
Nationality Brazilian and Italian[1]
Political party PT (1980–2017)
Spouse(s) Marcos Cláudio da Silva (1970–71; his death)
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (1974–2017; her death)
Children Marcos Cláudio (b. 1970)
Fábio Luís (b. 1975)
Sandro Luís (b. 1980)
Luís Cláudio (b. 1987)

Marisa Letícia Lula da Silva (née Rocco Casa; 7 April 1950 – 3 February 2017) was the second wife of former President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,[2] and First Lady of Brazil from 2003 to 2010. Lula's first wife, Maria de Lourdes da Silva, died in labour when Lula was in his twenties.

Early life[edit]

Marisa Letícia Rocco Casa was born in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, in the São Paulo Metropolitan Area, where she grew up, studied, worked, married and first became politically active. She was married to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from 1974 until her death in February 2017. They had four children and two grandchildren together.

Born to Italian grandparents (Lombards from Palazzago, Province of Bergamo), Marisa was the tenth of the eleven children of Antônio João Casa (son of Giovanni Casa and Carolina Gambirasio) and Regina Rocco (daughter of Mariano Rocco and Giovanna Boff).

Until she was five, Marisa lived at her family's farm. The area is currently known as the Casa neighborhood in honor of her family, one of the first ones to arrive in the area. In 1955, the family moved to downtown São Bernardo do Campo.

In third grade Marisa was entered in the school Grupo Escolar Maria Iracema Munhoz. At age nine she began working as a babysitter for three younger girls. At thirteen years old she began working at the Dulcora chocolate factory. Because she could not be registered as an official worker, her father signed an authorization so she could work as a chocolate wrapper.

At twenty-one Marisa became pregnant with her first son.


In 1973, a widow and mother of one son from her first marriage, Marisa Letícia started work as a state school inspector. That same year she met Lula at the Metallurgist’s Trade Union of São Bernardo do Campo. Seven months later they married.

In 1975, Lula was elected Head of the Metallurgist’s Trade Union of São Bernardo do Campo. This marked the beginning of Marisa’s political militancy. She encouraged other women to participate in the Trade Union of ABCD. In 1978 strikes began in the ABC region of São Paulo.

Marisa Letícia with Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad at the National Museum of Damascus in 2003.

The Workers' Party (PT) was founded on 10 February 1980 and Marisa helped in organizing the party. She cut and sewed the first party flag, and stamped T-shirts in order to raise Party funds. In April of that same year, the Federal Government decreed the intervention in the union. Having lost their gathering space, Marisa's house became the stage for meetings of unionists, politicians, artists and intellectuals. This resulted in the arrest of Lula and other union leaders.

During this time, Marisa helped to organize a women's protest march for releasing the Union leaders. Surrounded by policemen, tanks and cavalry, thousands of women and children left Praça da Matriz and walked through Marechal Deodoro street to the Paço Municipal and returned to the Matriz Church. The protest march drew the participation of the then-bishop of Santo André, Dom Cláudio Hummes.

When her husband Lula ran for president in 1982, 1986, 1994 and 1998, Marisa Letícia shared her time among her children, house and the campaigns. She also participated in the Citizenship Caravans that crossed the country.

In 2002, having raised her four children to adulthood, the wife of candidate Lula was able to dedicate herself entirely to that year's electoral campaign. At Lula's side she crossed the country as his most valuable electoral supporter. Marisa's constant and marking presence throughout Lula's political career affirmed her position as first-comrade.

In one of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's trips abroad, in October 2003, the First Lady was awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit.

In 2009 Lula biopic Lula, Son of Brazil, Marisa Letícia was portrayed by Juliana Baroni.

On 19 September 2016, as part of the Operation Car Wash corruption scandal, an investigation for money laundering against Marisa Letícia and Lula was accepted by Paraná 13th Circuit federal judge Sérgio Moro.


Marisa Letícia was pronounced dead on 3 February 2017 at 6:57PM UTC−3 at the Sírio-Libanês Hospital,[3] a week after suffering a sudden stroke.[4] President Michel Temer declared three days of official mourning.[5] She was cremated the next day. Her ashes were interred in the Cemitério Jardim da Colina, in her native São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo.[6] She was 66.