Brazil and the world have been shocked by the assassination of the Rio de Janeiro city councilwoman, Marielle Franco, of the PSOL (Party of Socialism and Freedom) and her driver Anderson Gomes on March 15, 2018. Millions have taken to the streets in Rio and in other cities throughout Brazil to denounce this crime and call for justice. Marielle was assassinated after she left a meeting called to advocate for the rights of Black women–one of the most oppressed, discriminated against and exploited sectors under capitalism in Brazil, where a Black is killed every 23 minutes. Today in Rio de Janeiro, millions of Blacks, workers, students and housewives live in terrible conditions of extreme poverty in favelas (poor neighborhoods) under the threat of violent state repression, drug traffickers, arms dealers and criminals. Marielle was a young, Black lesbian and socialist activist for the rights of women, Blacks, inhabitants of the favelas and the LGBT community. She devoted her life to systematically speaking out against police and paramilitary repression and focused on describing how state violence attains levels of ethnic and social cleansing.
President Michel Temer has declared that “This crime against an elected city councilwoman will not go unpunished.” The spokespersons of the governing parties and the establishment media have declared that the assassination of Marielle is the product of “organized crime.” However, Marielle was murdered when fourteen 9-mm-caliber bullets were fired into her car. It has come to light that the same type of bullets is used by the Federal Police (FP), and the latest investigations indicate that the bullets belong to a lot of ammunition acquired by the police in December 2006.
The murder of Marielle and Anderson comes less than a month after President Temer, with the support of Congress, decreed the Brazilian military occupation of the whole state of Rio de Janeiro, especially of the favelas of its namesake capital. This was an unprecedented measure, the first since the adoption of the current Constitution in 1988. This measure constitutes an open attack on the democratic freedoms of the Brazilian people. Brazil’s Armed Forces were deployed to take control of the favelas, allegedly “to end the drug trafficking and bring security to the citizens of Rio de Janeiro.” Army General Walter Braga Netto was appointed by President Temer with the power to direct the Military Police, the Civil Police, the Fire Department and the State Penitentiaries in Rio de Janeiro, all institutions implicated to varying degrees in the drug trafficking and violence that plagues Rio. Netto is accountable only to President Temer.
The death of Marielle and Anderson just 25 days after this military intervention illustrates the consequences of President Temer’s policy of state repression. In the words of the favela resident and mother of Vitor Santiago Borges, a young man who was shot in the spine and left quadriplegic: “Human rights violations will only occur within the favelas. The tanks will not circulate through the expensive Southern Zone beach neighborhoods (where Ipanema is located), because this military operation is just an excuse to kill poor Blacks and favelados.”
The assassination of Marielle and death of Anderson has awakened a giant, the Brazilian mass movement, which has responded with a unanimous denunciation of this execution and murder in huge mobilizations throughout Brazil.
The Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR) sends our solidarity to Marielle’s and Anderson’s families and political comrades.
We support the struggle of the workers and people of Brazil against state repression. We demand a full investigation into this political assassination and demand justice for Marielle Franco. We oppose the military intervention in Rio de Janeiro and defend the democratic rights of the Brazilian people as a whole, especially its most oppressed Black and female sectors who, just like Marielle, stand in the forefront of the struggle in defense of freedom in Brazil.
A full and impartial investigation into the assassination of Marielle Franco!
The prosecution and punishment of all those either materially or intellectually responsible for Marielle’s and Anderson’s deaths!
An immediate end to the military intervention ordered by President Michel Temer and implemented by General Braga Netto in Rio de Janeiro!
Long live the feminist, Afro-descendant, LGBT, workers, popular and socialist struggle!
Comrade Marielle Franco, ¡presente!
Freedom Socialist Party (FSP, United States and Australia)
Partido Obrero Socialista (POS, Mexico)
Comité de Enlace Convergencia Socialista-La Verdad y Reagrupamiento Hacia el PST (CSLV-R-PST, Argentina)
Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR)