600 days long dark night

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By Chico Alencar*

“What happened, friend, with everything we dreamed of?

What became of life, what became of love?”

(Milton Nascimento, Fernando Brant and Márcio Borges)

It's been 600 days since that terrible March 14, 2018, and the penny still hasn't fully sunk in. Suddenly, no more than suddenly, that person of incredible vitality, full of energy and dreams, had her body broken? Never again the loud laughter, the “arrival arriving”, the afro beauty and the awareness of your and our history? Never again the effort for his and his peers to organize themselves, move, get out of conformism, affirm their hitherto muffled identities?

Couldn't that person with whom she'd talked a little while ago about her term as councilor, about the possibility of running as a candidate for the Senate, be able to chat, walk, combine rebellions? That good-humoured, good-natured woman (with whom, naturally, she also exchanged bad feelings), could no longer tell me “I respect your white hair, Chico, and without a comma!”, to communicate that her commitment would be in the elections as a whole, not postulating any more candidacy, nor the deputy or vice-governor, in the upcoming election?

Where to put the flamenguista passion, that of dressing red and black and going to the stadium, now that the football team plays similar to the team of our nostalgia, of Zico, Júnior, Leandro and Cia? Where does the showy girl in the samba circle turn, celebrating life, sharing joy as she had learned, in Catholic circles of girls and teenagers, to share bread and wine, in the faith of common liberation, without individual, selfish prosperity? Where "that boy verse, which I wrote so many years ago"?

600 days ago, the devastating news arrived: Marielle was stupidly executed, and with her Anderson, who was driving the car where she was. Fernanda survived the insanity of cruel people who don't care about life. In Brasilia, I was returning home from the session of the Chamber of Deputies. Shock. Sleepless night, not believing in the atrocity! “And the head was spinning, in a spinning” that was much more acute pain and anger than love: who pressed the trigger? Who plotted the crime? For what reasons? It is not possible, it is not true, this drastic rupture of form, of the virtuous compositions called Marielle Franco and Anderson Gomes, still so young...

Since then, doubts about these same original questions have increased, with the exception of the first one. Everything indicates that the murderous duo was indeed that of the bestialized Ronnie Lessa and Élcio Queiroz – “relative” of the other, more famous, in a clumsy vision of the world and transit in the shadows. But the principals and motives for such a barbaric crime, affecting people who did not have visceral enemies, remain an open question.

Bolsonaro, with whom I have always had civil relations, despite the visceral antagonism of ideas, and his rude style, this time did not comment on the resounding fact, as it always happened when we passed each other, in the corridors of the Chamber, in plenary, occasionally on flights Rio-Brasília-Rio.

Strangely, it seemed that, for him, nothing had happened. An unusual silence. Amidst the tide of solidarity declared by all political spectrums (even Michel Temer called me, on the morning of the 15th, to express his non-conformity with the barbarism and the commitment of his government to leave nothing unpunished), the voice of Jair Bolsonaro shut up. Number 01, Flávio, even made a note of regret, but soon deleted it. Jair spoke, some time later, only to criticize a group of students who had chosen our Marielle as their patron.

In those 600 days, it became known that one of the probable killers was a neighbor of Jair and Carlos' condominium, number 02. Has the investigation, under secrecy, already ascertained whether these neighbors knew each other and spoke to each other? There was also proximity to ideas, no doubt. Another more than geographical and ideological as well: Jair's youngest son, Jair Renan, would have dated the daughter of Lessa, the bandit neighbor.

In the last week of October, shocking information appeared. On the day of the crime, the criminals met in the condominium, and from there they left for the macabre undertaking. Jair's name would have been mentioned by Élcio, to enter the place. A record-breaking two-hour inspection ruled out that hypothesis. And the doorman (where is he?) who mentioned her was accused of “liar”, being placed on “official vacation”. We don't know his whereabouts or even his name. Take risks.

Jair and his enraptured son Carlos tried to carry out their own investigation, trampling justice – and, in practice, obstructing it: they took the recordings of access to the condominium, as if they were from the MP or delegates in the case. Jair Bolsonaro extrapolated his status as chief executive and acted as if he were a judge, investigator or prosecutor. Who guarantees that the records have not been tampered with?

The president who considers himself a despotic king ordered his fishing, business and political brother, Fabrício Queiroz, to throw away a cell phone as soon as he took office as president, and change the line. He's adept at blocking information that might compromise… And after all, was there an intercom at Condominium Vivendas da Barra or not? Was access at the entrance direct with the residents' cell phones, wherever they were?

The Public Prosecutor's Office - even more so after a prosecutor in the case, a Bolsonarist militant, posed for a photo with a deputy who broke a plaque with Marielle's name - owes explanations and effective actions to society. After 600 days, there are more shadows than light in the calculation. Offices in Planalto, in the Rio de Janeiro and Rio de Janeiro parliaments and courts need to be opened, to check if there isn't a smell of rot coming from there.

One thing is certain: the Bolsonaro relationship with militiamen is old and close. Adriano, the head of the “Office of Crime”, on the run, had his wife and mother working in the office of then state deputy Flávio Bolsonaro. Fabrício Queiroz, retired PM – the super friend, the handyman, the faithful squire – had a long relationship with militiamen. Bolsonaro and his sons have always praised these criminal groups, deeming them necessary “justice fighters”.

Fabrício Queiroz is a key figure: even after revealing his practices of employment, nepotism, dark transactions, suspicious loans and many "rolls" to earn money, even after being guided by his "bosses", now at the apex of power in the Republic , to “submerge”, remained active.

Newly revealed dialogues, with an unknown interlocutor, show that Queiroz remains informed of the backstage of his former boss Flávio and with the strength to indicate the corridors that lead to his office in the Senate. He regrets that he has not been able to exercise, with aplomb, his investigations as an infiltrator in an “enemy area”, he demands more action in the PSL, to put it at the service of the petty interests of his group, a mafia eager for expansion. There is no 03 with its repressive rapture of the “new AI-5” that minimizes the role (dirty, in terms of language and objectives) of Queiroz.

Brazil has always had oligarchies, patrimonialism, patriarchy and bossism of narrow and sectarian groups, opponents of republican effectiveness. Our democratic culture is still extremely fragile. But now we have reached an unprecedented level of “gangsterization” of politics. It is as if our country were governed by militia groups, alien to the Constitution and a pact of minimum sociability.

Market forces have never had scruples and have embraced without reservation someone who openly advocates torture, censorship and dictatorship. But perhaps they are starting to realize that the clan behind this public march can even hinder the implementation of the ultraneoliberal program they defend – another tragedy with terrible consequences for the poorest people, as the Chilean experience has revealed.

A specter hovers around the condominium of Bolsonar power: the specter of Marielle. In the history of peoples, female fighters eliminated in this way – like, now, Paulino Guajajara, “guardian of the forest” – tend to haunt executioners, principals and accomplices of cowardice. And, even in the midst of tears, the fight for a time of justice and delicacy always starts again. Like the moon, like symphonies, like the alternation of nights and days.

*Chico Alencar Professor of History, writer and former federal deputy (PSOL/RJ)

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