Marielle Franco, a Rio de Janeiro City Council member, and her driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, were shot and killed on March 14 after a car pulled alongside theirs and opened fire. A rally was held at Brown University Tuesday in Franco’s memory. The rally also served as a protest against Brazil’s recent move to “near martial-law” as the military has taken on the job of state security.
From the event notice on Facebook:
Last month, Brazil‘s military was put in charge of security in the state of Rio, a near-martial-law move which was claimed to be aimed at fighting serious organized crime problems, but also helped the political goals of the embattled president. Amnesty International had warned that this empowerment of the military would lead to more human rights violations. Marielle Franco’s death came soon afterwards. She was a black feminist socialist, well-known in Brazil, and a member of Rio’s city council representing slum areas. She had a reputation for speaking out against killings by police, and last Tuesday, she blamed the police for another killing. The next day, as her car was driving from a meeting, two men in another car pulled up and shot her multiple times in the head as she was sitting in the back seat. The bullets have been traced to a batch bought by police, and the police say the bullets were stolen. The violent conflict in Brazil between organized crime groups and the government, who are sometimes linked to one another, has sometimes been an excuse for the powerful to eliminate those they find threatening.
Speakers at the event saw the assassination of Marielle Franco through the broader lens of systemic violence against black, women and LGBTQ bodies. The vigil was held “in remembrance of [Franco] and all Black freedom fighters who have lost their lives throughout Brazil and the Americas in recent years” said the event notification.
STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY
by Black Cuban Activists, Nancy Alfaya and Jorge Olivera:
Marielle Franco, the warrior voice of the favelas.
The deadly attack on the warrior voice of the favelas becomes a new spark to illuminate the path of justice.
His determination to meet the challenges of a dangerous agenda, in favor of marginalized sectors of Brazilian society, it after his death to a chair in the history of the South American country.
As Cubans, defenders of the DH, we join in the revulsion of this horrendous crime. We are well aware of the price to pay in the fight for fundamental rights in repressive environments where impunity and corruption reigns.
In 2003, my husband was imprisoned for exercising his right to freedom of expression, in a trial without due process. The family also failed to escape from government anger, exercised through harassment and surveillance by the state’s repressive forces.
In Cuba, we also face social and economic problems that go unnoticed between the flow of propaganda that favors the myth that all Cubans are happy under the tyranny of the single party.
One of the issues awaiting solutions is racial discrimination.
It is sufficient to know that, in the population settlements, located on the outskirts of the capital, whose tenants are mostly of race black, there is no property rights, overcrowding is permanent and access to vital services for a worthy existence is a chimera, this must be added:
- Racial inequalities in the state and non-State Labor market.
- the repression of citizen s’ initiatives seeking to highlight the issue.
- Differential Treatment in the criminal system from the application of profiles
- Barriers to access to higher education
- Violations Aggravated to freedom of expression and opinion in people
- The “feminization of poverty”, especially in black women.
The Independent Organization Citizens’ committee for racial integration (Cir), submitted a report to the inter-American commission on human rights in March 2017, addressing the issue of the situation of the persons concerned, reflecting:
The voices of people of African descent suffer in any part of the world more violence, but in women triples, as a woman, black and leader.
In this endless spiral of violence, it is worth remembering the case of María Elena Moyano, an extraordinary social wrestler Afroperuvian, known as “mother courage”, murdered 23 years ago by the terrorist group shining path.
The number of people who have lost their lives in pursuit of equity and respect for human dignity is regrettable.
Nothing more wise than to finish this speech with the premonitory question that was made Marielle, one day before falling for hatred.
How many more will they have to die?
Nancy Alfaya Hernández
Founder of the ladies in white
DH activist in defense of women
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