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A Killing in Rio

A Killing in Rio

Last Wednesday night in Rio de Janeiro, a 38-year old gay black single-mother from one of the city’s largest favelas was shot to death, along with her driver, by two unknown gunmen.


In a city where violence has reached epidemic proportions, those details alone might have gone unnoticed except that this particular woman was Marielle Franco (pictured above), a popular first-term city councilwoman and outspoken advocate for the human rights of women and minorities. Franco had been particularly passionate on the subject of violence by Rio’s famously trigger-happy police — long a subject of international human rights concern.

The incident has quickly taken on national political dimensions, as thousands have hit the streets across Brazil to mourn Franco’s death and demand accountability. The government is under pressure to find out who ordered the killing — suspicion is rampant that it was a message from disgruntled policemen or illegal militias composed of ex-officers.

Moreover, the federal government recently sent the military to take control of security in Rio. Franco’s killing makes it look like the army isn’t doing a great job, and public support for the intervention has fallen since last week, though it’s still at 71 percent.

Lastly, because of who she was and what she stood for, her murder brings together three third-rail issues in Brazil — security, race, and poverty — as the country heads for a pivotal election in which anti-establishment anger is running high, polarization is extreme, and one of the leading candidates, former army-man Jair Bolsonaro, has said that cops aren’t cops unless they kill people. A volatile brew in what is already a deeply uncertain political climate.

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On September 23, GZERO Media — in partnership with Microsoft and Eurasia Group — gathered global experts to discuss global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic in a livestream panel. Our panel for the discussion Crisis Response & Recovery: Reimagining while Rebuilding, included:

  • Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
  • Ian Bremmer, President and Founder, Eurasia Group & GZERO Media
  • Jeh Johnson, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and former Secretary of Homeland Security.
  • John Frank, Vice President, UN Affairs at Microsoft
  • Susan Glasser, staff writer and Washington columnist, The New Yorker (moderator)

Special appearances by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde, and comedian/host Trevor Noah.

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Will Senate Republicans, who stopped a Supreme Court nomination in 2016, because it was too close to an election, pay a political price for the change in tactics this time around?

Not only do I think they won't pay a political price, I think in many cases, they're going to benefit. Changing the balance of power on the Supreme Court has been a career-long quest for many conservatives and many Republicans. And that's why you've seen so many of them fall in line behind the President's nomination before we even know who it is.

At this point, do Senate Democrats have any hope of stopping President Trump from filling the ninth seat on the Supreme Court?

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The coronavirus pandemic threatened to bring Europe's economy to its knees. Then something remarkable happened: 27 member states came together. Joining GZERO World with Ian Bremmer is the woman at the heart of that response, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde. She'll explain how European nations were able to overcome political divisions and act quickly to prevent an all-out economic catastrophe on the continent.

Listen: The coronavirus pandemic threatened to bring Europe's economy to its knees. Then something remarkable happened: 27 member states came together. On the latest episode of the GZERO World with Ian Bremmer podcast is the woman at the heart of that response, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde. She'll explain how European nations were able to overcome political divisions and act quickly to prevent an all-out economic catastrophe on the continent.

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Panel: How will the world recover from COVID-19?

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