One day after meeting with Brazil's former Minister of Foreign AffairsCelso Amorim and sending a spiritual message of support to former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Pope Francis convened with Marinete Silva, mother of the slain Rio de Janeiro councilwoman and Black activist, Marielle Franco.
Marinete da Silva presented Pope Francis with a T-shirt with an image of her eldest daughter printed on the front. “The visit shows the authorities in Brazil that I'm not alone” in this struggle for justice, she said.
He, in turn, said that he was following the investigation into her assassination very closely and is worried about the murder of community leaders, Indigenous people, as well as the decrease in public policies that defend human rights in Brazil.
The meeting, which occurred in the Vatican, was also accompanied by attorney Carol Proner, professor and former Secretary of Human Rights Paulo Sergio Pinheiro and head of the National Council of Christian Churches and Lutheran Deaconry Foundation Cibele Kuss.
The group, along with the Pope, denounced human rights violations taking place in Brazil.
“The Pope is very concerned about the situation in Latin America and he told us that he is following events very closely,” Proner said. She presented two books to the Holy See, one being the “The International Resistance to the 2016 Coup” and “Commentaries of an Announced Sentencing – The Lula Case.”
Marielle Franco and her driver, Anderson Gomes, were executed in a barrage of bullets at her car while returning home from an event in central Rio de Janeiro called "Young Black Women Moving Structures" on March 15.
Three days before she was murdered, Marielle had denounced the deaths of two youths during a military police operation in the Acari favela.
“We must speak loudly so that everybody knows what is happening in Acari right now. The 41st Military Police Battalion of Rio de Janeiro is terrorizing and violating Acari residents. This week two youths were killed and tossed in a ditch. Today, the police walked the streets threatening residents. This has always happened, and with the military intervention things have gotten worse,” she wrote on Twitter.
Also, two weeks earlier Franco was named a rapporteur in the special commission established by the city council to monitor the military intervention in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Investigators have revealed that the 9mm bullets that killed Marielle were part of a lot bought by federal police in 2006.