“A symbol and a seed of resistance,” Mariel’s mother says

The unveiling of the statue will kick off a series of events in Mariel’s memory in the city

Bruna Fanti
Rio de Janeiro – RJ

Marinette Silva, 71, fondly remembers the hibiscus and mandarin tea she had on her last date with her daughter, Mariel Franco, the day before she died. “I took it in his office, where I was visiting for the first time,” he said.

Less than 24 hours later, Mari, who had identified herself as a black woman, a sociologist, and a child of the Complexo da Mare, elected by 46,502 votes to Rio de Janeiro’s chamber, was shot dead five times.

“We were together from 17:30 to 22:30. He showed me the room where he received people, we had lunch. I watched the plenary sessions with him. Between sessions we went out to find eye drops for her daughter who had conjunctivitis. It was something prepared by God in these hours. Goodbye.”

This Monday (13), Marinette accompanied the gathering of her daughter’s 11-metre statue, which will be unveiled this Tuesday (14) five years after the crime, which also killed driver Anderson Gomez.

The unveiling of the statue will kick off a series of events in Mariel’s memory in the city.

The sculpture “Corte Seco – Marielle” was donated by the artist Paulo Nazareth to the Marielle Franco Institute and will be installed on the Prasa Maui Museum of Art.


He continues to oppose the federalization of the case. “The crime happened in Rio de Janeiro, it is the business of the authorities of Rio de Janeiro that the answer must be given to the voters of Mariel, to the public. I have never lost hope, but I am against federalization,” he said.

This Monday, he went to a meeting with a federal task force set up to assist in the investigations.

The current director of the Federal Police of Rio de Janeiro, Leandro Almada, was responsible for pointing out the conspiracy involving the police, militiamen and even the former advisor of the TCE (State Court of Auditors) as the mastermind of the crime. From this, the first request for the federalization of the case took place, rejected by the Justice, in 2020.

Investigators declined to be interviewed, but some commented that one of the benefits of federalization would be the ability to know if the weapon used in the crime was missing from the PF’s own collection.


This is due to the fact that the investigators concluded that the HK MP5 machine gun was used in the crime, which was used by both the special forces and the PF. It is already known that the weapon of the same model of the federal police was lost from the arsenal and was never found. At one time, the civil police investigators even considered that this weapon was used, but nothing was proven.

In February of this year, Minister of Justice Flavio Dino announced the assistance of the PF in the investigations.

Vera Araujo, author of Mataram Mariel with Chico Otavio, Intrinseca, says Dino found a way around the bureaucracy.

“He (Flavio Dino) knew that federalization required a lot of work, because the matter had already been analyzed by the STJ (Supreme Court of Justice) and he should be able to prove in more detail that both the Civil Police and the Public Ministry did not work as it should. So, he proposed a form of partnership,” he emphasized.


Sociologist Silvia Ramos, who was also Mariel’s friend, recalls the smear campaign that followed the adviser’s death. “Victim shaming is a movement to justify death for alleged involvement in a crime. It was an attempt to divert attention from the brutality that this execution represents as a political crime,” he said.

Rafael Borges, president of the OAB/RJ’s (Brazilian Bar Association) public security commission, said Mariel’s memory had been attacked by anti-democratic groups.

“Mariel had a political agenda of strong commitment to minorities and social rights. This agenda was opposed to the transformation of the police state,” he said.


The slanders have mostly come from Bolsonaro groups that have criticized the council’s performance in investigating cases of alleged arbitrariness by police officers. Before becoming a councilor, Mariel participated in the Allergy Human Rights Commission (Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro).


“Anyone who was close to Marie knew she was a force of nature. He had an infectious hope that it would be possible to change life, as well as good humor and creativity. After her murder, her memory is one of beauty and courage. That’s why they say Marie is a seed,” said her friend Silvia.

If longing for the little things makes her stronger, then it is in Mariel’s legacy that the mother finds strength.

“I am aware of what my daughter has become: a symbol of resistance, of change, a seed of inspiration. My daughter has always been determined since childhood. When I was playing, I liked being either a teacher or a mother. And she’s always inspired, even in a turban, the way she talks, I see a lot of girls she’s influenced. Today, more black women are occupying places they couldn’t imagine before because of her,” Marinette said.

For now, former military police officers Ronnie Lessa and Elcio Queiroz are in prison awaiting trial. They deny the allegations.


  • Murder
    On March 14, 2018, Mariel and Anderson were shot while leaving an event in downtown Rio. Councilor Fernanda Chavez was injured but survived
  • federal investigation
    In November 2018, the Federal Police launched an “investigative inquiry” to investigate allegations of violations and interference in the work of the Civil Police and the State Public Ministry.
  • legal battle
    In August 2018, the first court ruling ruled that Google was providing data that could help solve the case.
  • Arrest of the accused
    On March 12, 2019, retired military police officer Ronnie Lessa and former military police officer Elcio Vieira de Queiros were arrested and charged by the state prosecutor’s office with committing the crime.
  • 1st delegate change
    Days later, the police department responsible for investigating the case changes the order. Guinito Lages is replaced by Daniel Rosa during the second round for the principals investigation.
  • Federalization
    In September 2019, based on the PF investigation, then-Attorney General Raquel Dodge called for the federalization of the investigations and convicted five suspects of trying to defraud them with false testimony, including Domingos Brazo, a ousted TCE-RJ adviser.
  • Quote Bolsonaro
    On October 29, 2019, Jornal Nacional from Globo reported that the doorman of the Vivendas da Barra condominium told police that it was Bolsonaro who allowed Elcio to enter the scene on the day of the crime. Bolsonaro, however, was in Brazil, and the public ministry found this version to be false.
  • no federalization
    In May 2020, the STJ ruled that the case would not be federalized unanimously (eight votes to zero). Reporter Laurita Vaz did not see “inertia or inaction” of the authorities in RJ.
  • battle with google
    In August 2020, the STJ rejected Google’s appeal and confirmed that the company must share users’ geographic location at the request of the prosecutor’s office, which has not been done so far. The case went to the SIS without a trial date set.
  • 2nd delegate change
    In September 2020, when Governor Wilson Witzel (PSC) was removed and Vice President Claudio Castro took office, a third delegate was appointed, Moises Santana.
  • Creation of a working group in MP-RJ
    In March 2021, the Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro created a task force to investigate the case. The group was made up of three promoters, one of whom, Simone Sibilio, had been following the investigation since 2018.
  • Lesa was convicted of destroying evidence
    In July 2021, Ronnie Lessa is sentenced to four years and six months in prison for concealing and destroying evidence in the case.
  • 3rd delegate change
    In July 2021, Delegate Henrique Damasceno leaves the 16th DP (Barra da Tijuca) and takes charge of the capital’s homicide police department, including Mariel’s case.
  • The prosecutor drops the investigation
    In July 2021, prosecutor Simone Sibilio dropped the case due to an award-winning cooperation agreement struck with Julia Lotufo, the widow of policeman Adriano da Nobrega. MP-RJ announces new task force with eight prosecutors
  • 4th Delegated Amendment
    In February 2022, the investigation into Mariel’s murder falls into the hands of Police Chief Alexander Hurdy, the fifth person to take over the case.
  • Judgment
    The jury trial against Ronnie Lesa and Elcio de Queiros does not yet have a date as the defense filed an appeal with the STJ. The perpetrators of the crime have yet to be identified.

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