Five years after the murder of the Rio city councillor, questions and hope


RIO DE JANEIRO — Relatives and supporters gathered in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday to mark five years since the murder of black, bisexual city councilor Marielle Franco, amid hopes that investigations into her death will speed up under its new leftist president Brazil.

“Five years of pain, suffering, hope and unanswered questions have passed. Half a decade is a long time,” Marinette da Silva, the slain councilor’s mother, told reporters after the unveiling of an 11-meter (36-foot) bust of her daughter at the Rio Art Museum in the city center.

Known worldwide by her first name, Marielle is depicted wearing a floral dress and the figure represents her towering heritage, da Silva said.

Marielle won election in 2016 to the city council, where she fought against violence against women while defending human rights and social programs, particularly in favelas like the one where she was born and raised. The rising political star and her driver were killed on the evening of March 14, 2018, while returning from an event to empower young black women.

Since then he has become a martyr and a symbol of the leftist resistance. Her silhouette can be found printed on T-shirts and painted on walls across the country and even abroad.

Two former police officers, accused of the double murder, are in prison awaiting trial. But central questions about the case remain unanswered: Who ordered Marielle’s murder, and what were their motives?

Mariel’s father, Antonio Francisco da Silva Neto, said former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro had not made a concerted effort to solve the case. He believes that justice can finally be served since Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva became president in January.

“We would have no hope if President Lula had not been elected,” he told reporters.

Lula tried to honor Mariel’s memory and speed up the investigations. On International Women’s Day, March 8, she sent a bill to Congress to make March 14 a day named for Marielle and focused on combating gender-based and racial-based political violence.

On Tuesday, Lula and his cabinet ministers stood and observed a minute’s silence. Mariel’s sister Aniel Franco, who is Lula’s racial equality minister, wiped tears from her eyes.

“It’s very important for us as a family … to have a government that is concerned about the case and has shown, increasingly, a willingness to cooperate so we can find out who ordered my sister’s murder,” said Aniel Franco.

At Lula’s request, Justice Minister Flávio Dino instructed the Federal Police to launch an investigation parallel to that of the Rio state authorities. Several state public prosecutors are in charge of the case, which has also passed through the hands of several chief detectives from the Rio state police.

Mônica Benício, Marielle’s widow, who has since been elected to Rio’s city council herself, said Bolsonaro’s defeat by Lula in last October’s election changed everything.

“The previous government never showed respect to Mariel’s memory or any commitment to shed light on the case,” Benicio told reporters outside the Rio Art Museum.

Speaking to reporters in Rio yesterday, Dino said he had been meeting with state authorities to share information and that the Federal Police investigation was progressing. Later that day, he visited the Mare favela where Marielle grew up.

On Tuesday, Amnesty International also opened a square-wide display of Marielle’s massive cutout. It consists of three panels, the first of which asks passers-by to leave a note with something that has happened to them in the last five years, and the other two panels cataloging events that happened during that time.

“The idea is to show that in five years a lot has happened in everyone’s lives – people got married, changed jobs. But there was no justice,” Jurema Werneck, Amnesty International’s Brazil director, told The Associated Press. “Many different authorities are involved, but they’re making promises they’re not keeping.”

After unveiling the cutout and panels with Marielle’s family and a handful of supporters, the group made their way to a small church nearby for a Mass held in her memory attended by about 100 people. Draped in the carpet on the front steps leading to the altar was a yellow cloth bearing her silhouette.

Some of those present held sunflowers and many wore shirts with Mariele’s image or slogans such as “Fight like Mariel Franco” and “Who ordered Mariele’s death?”

“Together with Marielle’s family, and with everyone, not only in Rio de Janeiro, but in the world, we will get the answers we need to make this all come to an end, with peace of mind that injustice will never prevail,” he said. Father Luciano Basílio. the crowd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *