WASHINGTON— Today marks the third anniversary of the assassination of Rio de Janeiro City Council member Marielle Franco—a passionate defender of human rights, an Afro-Brazilian, a dissident, and a member of the LGBTQ community. To date, those who ordered her assassination still have not been brought to justice. Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva, Joaquín Castro, David Cicilline, Adriano Espaillat, Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Ilhan Omar, Mark Pocan, and Susan Wild issued the following statement and affirmation of solidarity:
“We, the undersigned members of the U.S. Congress, affirm our solidarity with all those working in Brazil to bring justice and accountability in the aftermath of this attack on Brazilian democracy. We join elected officials and citizens across Brazil and around the globe in calling for a full and impartial investigation into all aspects of the case.
“We are also fully aware that, tragically, this was not an isolated incident: Violence against activists, candidates, and elected officials in Brazil has spiked in recent years, as Jair Bolsonaro has cultivated his political base by engaging in overtly violent, xenophobic, and anti-democratic rhetoric—first as a presidential candidate, and now as President.
“Credible death threats forced Brazilian member of Congress Jean Wyllys to resign and leave Brazil shortly after Bolsonaro’s inauguration. And a few months ago, Brazilian Congresswoman Talíria Petrone had to go into hiding due to threats to her and her family. Both of these elected officials, like Marielle Franco, belong to the same opposition party, are Afro-Brazilians, and are outspoken defenders of economic, racial, environmental, and social justice.
“As U.S. members of Congress who experienced the January 6 attack on the Capitol, we are particularly cognizant of the seriousness of violence against elected officials and democratic institutions—and the need to ensure accountability when such violence occurs. Justice must be delivered in the aftermath of Marielle Franco’s assassination, and the Brazilian government must adequately protect current elected officials, candidates, and activists against additional violence.”