Marielle and Anderson – five years later



No instance of the Brazilian State made any effort to reach out to those who ordered the murders.

Half a decade has passed without the publicized priorities of investigating and punishing the culprits being applied to those responsible for the surprising cold execution of former councilwoman Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Gomes, on the night of the fateful March 14, 2018.

The gravity that the case reveals goes far beyond family tragedies – and not just because, after so much time has passed since the case, the causes of the political assassination with the greatest national and international repercussions since the bomb in Riocentro, in April 1981, are still unknown.

Due to the scenario and the historical precedents in which they happened, the point-blank shots to Marielle's head and Anderson's back indicate, among countless other cases, the continuous advance without resistance of a militia state that sometimes overlaps, sometimes interacts with the formal state in Rio de Janeiro.

Something along those lines had already been attempted in 2011, when judge Patrícia Acioli, dedicated to confronting death squads, was murdered in São Gonçalo (RJ) by a gang of Military Police officers led by a colonel. He still enjoys himself today with a royal salary of at least R$ 40. And, to quench our hierarchical thirst for Justice, the soldiers involved were expelled from the Military Police.

The lack of commitment by the State authorities

In itself, the five years after the deaths of Marielle and Anderson denounce that no instance of the Brazilian State has actually committed itself – or managed to overcome the obstacles encountered – to reach those who ordered the murders, clearly linked to the militia way of operating the crimes and of keep the investigation forever dormant.

Even one of Marielle's supposed closest friends has distanced himself from the subject. Former deputy Marcelo Freixo, in a campaign (2022) for the state government – ​​which could have been a privileged moment to publicly defend the resolution of the case – abandoned the frontal criticism of the militias (object of confrontation by him and Marielle in CPI in Alerj, back in 2008) and preferred to salute the soldiers of the PM, an armed wing of the State with political capillarity that is very useful in election times.

Defeated in the first round by Governor Cláudio Castro (PL), who does little in the face of the routine massacres perpetrated by PMs against favela residents, Marcelo Freixo, without a mandate and beginning his career as a specialist in the field of tourism, contented himself with the position of president of Embratur. He is in a lower hierarchical position than the Minister of Tourism, Daniela do Waguinho, denounced for her links with militiamen. A bond that starts at home.

Her husband and mayor of the municipality of Belford Roxo, Wagner dos Santos Carneiro, Waguinho, was already removed from office in 2019 by the Justice Department of Rio de Janeiro, accused of leading a criminal organization in the City Hall. Waguinho, the main political leader in the Baixada Fluminense, strongly supported Lula in 2022, which denotes that the militia logic has a life beyond the Bolsonaro government.

Not even Marielle's political party, PSol, manages to impose on the public debate and concrete institutional actions the urgency of concluding the investigations of the case, which is an emblem of how difficult it is to distinguish legality from illegality in Rio de Janeiro.

The long-lasting impunity of Ronnie Lessa

An example of this scenario is the center of the Marielle and Anderson Case. For decades, the person accused of pulling the trigger quietly operated as the main assassin for hire in the state, as well as the security guard for the Jogo do Bicho – the father of the main structures of organized crime inside and outside the institutions of Rio de Janeiro.

Ronnie Lessa, the professional hit man, for decades acted how, when and with whomever he wanted, without ever having been bothered by any authority. While providing services to the criminal organizations of the “misdemeanor”, ​​he even lost one of his legs in a bomb explosion. like Al Qaeda. But even this cinematographic event did not draw the attention of the control bodies of the justice and security systems.

Until he was arrested a year after the deaths of Marielle and Anderson, Ronnie Lessa had never been investigated by the PM's Corregedoria, by the Civil Police or by the state Public Ministry, which has the legal obligation to supervise the police. Even after being retired from the Military Police due to disability, the assassin continued to provide rescue services to the Civil Police in extreme situations, such as sieges and shootings.

All of this took place before and also during the period of financial and military intervention in Rio de Janeiro. The intervention was designed in 2018 by an illegitimate federal government that resulted from the 2016 coup and allowed Bolsonarist generals free access to the databases of the public security system and, at least partially, also of the justice system in Rio de Janeiro. (Note: it is commonplace for the military to have partial access to state security systems. By virtue of the legislation, military personnel are in permanent preparation to intervene in public security through the Guarantee of Law and Order (GLO).

Named federal intervenor, the former Minister of Defense and former candidate (2022) for vice president on the ticket of Jair Bolsonaro, General Braga Netto, operative when Marielle and Anderson were murdered, even admitted to knowing who the principals would be of the double murder. “It could have announced the solution of the Marielle case, says Braga Netto”.[1]

State mezzo militiaman mezzo formal

Even today, the extensive chain of complicity, incompetence and omissions that seem to clash in a clumsy way are functional to the State mezzo militiaman mezzo formal in force in Rio. Thus, the hybrid State continues to maintain the appearances of normality in the tense reality that the State is experiencing and the promise that one day the masterminds and causes of Marielle and Anderson's deaths will finally be discovered.

In February, the Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro implicitly admitted that it was incapable of conducting investigations. In a meeting with the Minister of Justice Flávio Dino, the Attorney General of Justice of Rio, Luciano Mattos, requested and obtained help from the Federal Police in the investigations – although the scope of the help was not clear.

In 2018, the former Minister of Justice, Raul Jungmann, had already authorized the PF to carry out an “investigation of the investigation”, anticipating the certainty that the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro – which has already changed five times the delegate responsible for the Marielle and Anderson – and the Public Prosecutor's Office have neither political independence nor technical competence to reach the constituents.

Luciano Mattos lemonade

There is, however, another way of understanding Luciano Mattos' strategy. He managed to turn the task, bitter as lemon, of finding the ultimate culprits into a tasty lemonade for the hybrid state of Rio de Janeiro.

On the eve of the case completing today (March 14, 2023) five years without a solution – when loads of articles appear in the press about pseudo-ephemeris that celebrate round anniversaries (two, five, 10, 20 years, etc.) avoid the culprit of connivance.

In addition to sharing with the PF part of the responsibility for solving this case in an advanced state of putrefaction, with the approach to Flávio Dino he, Luciano Mattos, ruled out the hypothesis of “federalization” of the case (when the Superior Court of Justice transfers the case to the exclusive scope of the Federal Justice, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office and the Federal Police).

Thus, in an almost silent way, it maintained the competence of the recalcitrant justice system of Rio to determine the decisions pertinent to the case – including searches, seizures and, most importantly, arrests.

*Carlos Tautz is a journalist and doctoral candidate in history at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF).



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