Pain and Sorrow Bring Old Adversaries Together

In a scene that moved millions in Brazil, a country polarized by deep political and economic crisis in the past three years, on Thursday February 2nd former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso comforted former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, his main political adversary for more than thirty years, after doctors said that former Brazilian First Lady Marisa Letícia Lula da Silva, 66, had slipped into an irreversible coma following a stroke.

President Michel Temer, current and former ministers and politicians also traveled to São Paulo to present condolences to former President Lula at the hospital. Cardoso’s gesture replicated the visit Lula paid him following the passing of former First Lady Ruth Cardoso in 2008.

The tenth of eleven children of an Italian Immigrant family, Marisa Letícia was an active participant in the founding of the Workers' Party (PT) and worked  as social activist at her husband’s side. In the 1980s, she organized a march in support of unionists imprisoned, including Lula, during the military dictatorship.

She is survived by her husband of 43 years, four sons and a step daughter. 

Camilla Velloso was a Staff Intern at the Brazil Institute from September 2016 - May 2017.
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Natalie Kosloff is a former Program Assistant for the Brazil Institute.
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