Marielle Franco of the leftist party PSol killed in Rio de Janeiro.
It was a warm summer night like any other in the month of March in Rio de Janeiro the the city famous for its beaches, carnival parade, and soccer matches. Marielle Franco, an activist, sociologist and a rising star politician from the left party PSol (Socialism and Liberty Party), elected in 2016 to serve in the Municipal Chamber of the city of Rio was going home after an event focused on the empowerment of young black women.
Marielle Franco never made home that night. The small vehicle that she was in with her press secretary and the driver was ambushed. Without any warning she got killed together with the driver. She took nine bullets, four of them on the head. Her press secretary got out with minor injuries. Many people speculate that she was assassinated because she was a threat to the police and militias.
She used her platform as a council woman elected with more than 50.000 votes to denounce the federal government for sending the military troops to occupy the notorious favelas in Rio de Janeiro and the constant extra judicial killings made by the police especially in the favelas.
Merely a week ago before her assassination she took on social media to denounce the killing of a black youth by the city police.
“Another homicide of a young man that could be credited to the police. Matheus Melo was leaving the church when he was killed. How many others will have to die for this war to end?” She wrote on her twitter account last week.
The president Michel Temer decide to send the military to the favelas after a wave of crimes and the killings of police during the festivities of Carnival in February. However, many specialists said that the problem is much more complex and the Army and the police will not solve this situation. After many years of a booming economy the country got into a deep recession that lasted over 3 years. Revenues were down e public services had to be cut for budgetary purpose.
Marielle Franco a slender skinny woman with a bushy hair and hazel skin grew up in Mare in one of the more than 1000 favelas in Rio located in the North part of the city. With the help of the federal government program called “PROUNI (University for all), created during the president Lula’ term, she was able to attend higher education on a scholarship.
She went to Pontifical Catholic University (PUC) where she got her BA in sociology in 2000. This program was designed to address the racial imbalance inside public universities throughout Brasil. She became an activist after a friend was killed by a stray bullet.
Her rising as a up and coming politician was very notable especially in a country that rarely sees black and brown people in position of authority.
Former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva, e Dilma Rousseff expressed grief over this brutal crime.
Presidente Michel temer has called the assassination an “act of cowardliness”. But in a video statement the president defended his decision to send troops to the favelas.
“Our favela is crying, Rio is Crying and Brazil is crying today”, said Anielle Franco, sister of the Marielle to journalists.