The murder of Márcio Matos belongs to a new wave of political violence in Brazil’s countryside. Rural assassinations are on the rise against a background of economic crisis and political malfeasance. As corruption trials generate a crescendo of public attention on law and order, the countryside becomes bloodier. The two events of January 24—Lula’s conviction and Márcio’s death—were thus twin symbols demonstrating both the strength and shortcomings of the Brazilian state. The government could prosecute its ex-president but not protect its own people.