Brazilian ex-politician must go to prison

A sensational court case is emerging in Brazil: a 55-year-old mother and former member of parliament is responsible for her husband’s murder.

Flordelis de Souza speaks about her murdered husband at the Brazilian Congress in 2019.

Brazil / Reuters

How much can fit into one life? In Flordelis dos Santos de Souza: quite a lot.

Flordelis dos Santos de Souza comes from a favela in Rio de Janeiro. She and her husband found a successful church. She has over 50 children with him, most of them adopted. She became famous as a gospel singer and evangelical pastor. She becomes a politician and moves to the Brazilian Congress. He is now in prison.

Flordelis, as she was known in Brazil, was sentenced by a court on Sunday to 50 years and 28 days in prison. It is the preliminary closure of one of the most sensational criminal cases in Brazil in recent history. Judges are convinced that the 61-year-old woman incited several of her children to murder her husband, Anderson, in Carmo. The daughter and son were sentenced to more than 30 years in prison, the other children received shorter sentences.

Deep fall. . .

Anderson do Carmo, with whom Flordelis had been in a relationship for 26 years, was shot dead outside their home one night in June 2019. As “The New Yorker” wrote in a report after the crime, the couple had previously gone to Copacabana Beach. After the return trip, Flordelis went to the house while her husband was still in the car handling emails. Shortly after, shots were fired. Coroners later found 30 bullet holes in the dead man’s body. At first it was believed that the robbery had failed.

At this point, Flordelis was at the height of her rise. In 2018, she was elected to Congress with an excellent result. Public sympathy was correspondingly high after her husband’s death. But that soon gave way to mistrust. Police arrested the couple’s two sons shortly after the crime. One confessed to buying a murder weapon, the other to murder. Further arrests of family members followed. In 2021, after her parliamentary immunity was lifted, the police also arrested Flordelis. According to media reports, she was holding a Bible when she was arrested.

. . . after the movie output

Growing up in a notorious slum, Flordelis came into contact with the church at an early age through her parents. As a teenager, she organized prayer classes and did missionary work with addicts and the homeless on the fringes of society, where the church often promised more support than the state. Flordelis later told reporters that she had always trusted her faith. Even if he risks his life to tour neighborhoods controlled by drug gangs. Fearlessness obviously has a lot of appeal. The children noticed, she said, “that I was doing something for them that their own mother didn’t do.”

Her future husband is one of the first children Flordelis accepts. He came to her when he was about 16, she was 32 at the time. “In the beginning he admired me and then it became love,” Flordelis told reporter Jon Lee Anderson when he visited her at her home in December 2020.

She also tells him how she later meets a girl who left her baby in the parking lot. Flordelis takes it with him. When a massacre of street children occurred a little later, this woman gathered the survivors and handed them over to Flordelis. “I had thirty-seven children in the blink of an eye.

Whether this actually happened is debatable. After her husband’s murder, there were voices disputing her version of the story. Flordelis has previously faced kidnapping charges. Because on paper she didn’t legally adopt the children. When the courts take a critical look, Flordelis and her children go into hiding. Later, with the help of a lawyer, she manages to be officially granted custody.

Together with her husband, she founded the evangelical parish Ministerio Flordelis, around which she built her family and career. The two are considered the flagship of the movement. Flordelis came to the attention of a larger audience thanks to an appearance on a famous talk show, from which she was nicknamed “the mother of the nation”.

Flordelis has released several records as a singer.

Youtube

Now her star is rising. The life of Flordelis dos Santos is filmed with several soap opera stars. Shortly after, she got a record deal with one of the biggest gospel labels in the country, recording albums, touring the US and making money. The owner of the brand, Arolde Oliveira, is a prominent evangelical and Brazilian politician. That’s how Flordelis got into politics, as part of the evangelical movement around the later president Jair Bolsonaro, which was gaining more and more influence in politics.

However, the violent death of her husband causes the facade to suddenly crumble. More and more details are becoming public. For example, that several attempts to poison Anderson into Carmo had previously failed. Or that, according to investigators, there was a family dispute over money and power within the Ministerio Flordelis. To avoid scandal, Flordelis planned to kill her husband, according to one explanation of the motive for the murder. The image in the tabloids changes from a benevolent supermother to a scheming murderer.

In court over the weekend, the defendant tearfully said her husband abused her and several daughters. To the very end, however, Flordelis denied being the mastermind of the murder. According to reports from several Brazilian news portals, your lawyers have announced that they will appeal. It cannot be ruled out that the lives of the Flordelis dos Santos de Souza will have another turning point.

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