Friday, 20 Apr 2018
World

A month without answers: the murder of Marielle Franco is still unpunished

Thirteen shots, a murder that shocked the world and an unanswered question: one month after the brutal execution of black politics Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro, the investigation of the worst political crime in years in Brazil still has not found the culprits. Authorities say there are advances, but have not yet presented clear hypotheses about the execution that shook the South American country on March 14. “The range of possibilities on crime is being simplified,” said Raul Jungmann, Minister of Public Security of the Conservative Government of Michel Temer this week. “The case of Marielle has to be resolved,” asked Marcelo Freixo, a well-known regional deputy and leftist activist, and Franco’s political mentor. “So that a minimum of democracy can be retaken in this country, suspended at this moment,” Freixo told the dpa agency. The murder of Franco, known for his activism against police violence, caused a shock in Brazil, despite the fact that the country has been awakening for a long time almost daily with news of violent deaths due to the fierce “war on drugs” in some of the countries. poorer neighborhoods of the main cities. Especially in Rio, many favelas are controlled by drug gangs, which face brutally with the security forces and paramilitary militias, many of them integrated or supported by corrupt officials. The death of Marielle Franco, however, was symbolic: the black activist and of very humble origins, bisexual and mother from a young age, already denounced with her own biography many of the evils that punish Brazilian society, and it seemed to be in the beginnings of a promising political career. Marielle “was the symbol of a change that this country wants long ago,” Freixo said about his partner in the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL). Franco frequently denounced police abuses and extrajudicial executions in the favelas. She herself was a native of the favela Maré, one of the most convulsive in Rio. Authorities and several media reconstructed the details of his murder in recent weeks. Franco, 38 years old at the time of his death, had just left a meeting with black activists in the Lapa neighborhood, in the center of Rio, when the car in which he was traveling was attacked from another vehicle. The attackers fired 13 times, four bullets hit the head and neck of Franco, who was traveling in the back seat. Other shots killed the driver, Anderson Gomes. The councilor’s assistant, who was traveling in the passenger seat, was injured. Images from some street security cameras showed that the attackers had followed Franco in two cars for several kilometers from Lapa to the neighborhood of Estácio, where they executed the fifth most voted councilwoman in the 2016 elections. In the following days the investigators discovered that several of the cartridges used came from a lot sold in 2006 to the Police in Brasilia and that had been reported as stolen some time later. The murder of Franco, known until then, especially at the local level in Rio, jumped to the international front. “What the death did with her was to present her to the world,” Freixo told dpa. In Brazil, tens of thousands of people went out to protest on the streets in the days after the crime, as if the fear of what happened has just awakened the country from a long lethargy favored by the serious institutional, economic and social crisis that Brazil is going through. . For Saturday morning a massive event was called in Rio from the first hours of the day, “Amanhecer por Marielle e Anderson” (“Dawn for Marielle and Anderson”). “Society needs to know who killed Marielle and why,” Jurema Werneck, director of Amnesty International in Brazil, complained today. “Every day that this case remains unturned, the risk and uncertainty surrounding human rights activists worsens.” The commotion was also reflected in the political tension that has shaken Brazil for years, exacerbated these days by the imprisonment of popular former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva due to a 12-year sentence for corruption. A judge in Rio generated shortly after the critical crime by publishing a post on the social network Facebook accusing Franco of having been “involved with bandits” for his criticism of police operations in the favelas. Carioca Justice then ordered Facebook to close several pages that published messages considered “slander” against the memory of politics.

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