Sergio is the newest Netflix offering that has us captivated. Based on real events, the biopic depicts some of the most important missions of the late UN diplomat, Sergio Vieira De Mello, before his tragic death in a bombing in Iraq. Along with his work, the movie also gives us a glimpse into his relationship with Carolina Larriera, a colleague he fell in love with. Ana De Armas portrays Larriera, also a UN official who now fights for human rights to keep Vieira De Mello’s memory alive. Our Carolina Larriera wiki gives more insight into the woman who was Vieira De Mello’s pillar of support.
|About Carolina Larriera
|February 13, 1973 Bahía Blanca, Argentina
|Rio de Janeiro
|Head Teaching Assistant of Leadership, Consultant
|Harvard Kennedy School, MIT Sloan School of Management, Tufts University, The Fletcher School of Law, Southlands
|Insper, Sao Paulo, Harvard, Refugee Relief International Inc., Brazil
|Sergio De Mello (2000 - 2003)
Carolina Larriera Is from Argentina
Carolina Larriera was born on February 13, 1973 in Bahía Blanca in Argentina. She is reportedly of Brazilian and Argentine descent.
Larriera’s father passed away two months before she was born. She was raised by her mother, Norma Camagni.
According to her Facebook, Rio De Janeiro in Brazil is her hometown, where she is currently living. Sergio Vieira De Mello is also from Rio.
Larriera Worked with the UN
Carolina Larriera began working at the UN in 1991, climbing the ranks while balancing her studies. She’s an alumnus of Southlands, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, MIT Sloan School of Management, and Harvard Kennedy School.
Larriera began as a volunteer at the UN headquarters in New York. After acquiring her economics degree, she took a pass on Wall Street and continued working at the UN. Larriera has been on UN assignments to East Timor and Baghdad during her career.
According to her mother, when the suicide bomber attacked the Canal Hotel in Iraq at which Carolina Larriera and Sergio Vieira De Mello were staying, Larriera was pursuing her Master’s degree at Harvard. That was the reason she joined Vieira De Mello’s mission late.
Since the Canal Hotel bombing, Larriera’s connections to the UN have soured. She’s been outspoken about the alleged mistreatment she was subjected to by the UN.
Larriera and Vieira De Mello Were in a Civil Union
A 27-year-old Carolina Larriera met 52-year-old Sergio Vieira De Mello in 2000. They were both on assignment by the UN in East Timor. Larriera was working as the head of the finance department of the provincial administration. Vieira De Mello was supervising the process of independence for the former Indonesian province.
Vieira De Mello had been separated from his first wife, Annie Personnaz, for 20 years at that point. He had two sons from his marriage to the French assistant of the UNHCR.
Larriera and Vieira De Mello’s shared passion for their work brought them closer, so they took their relationship to another level. After meeting each other’s parents in Brazil and Argentina, they entered a civil union. The civil union was recognized when Larriera won a lawsuit against Personnaz in 2017.
The couple lived together in Paris and were engaged to be married, pending the finalization of Vieira De Mello’s divorce from Personnaz.
They planned their legal wedding for December 2003. Invitations had been sent out and even the then King Sihanouk of Cambodia was among the VIPs invited. Sadly, Vieira De Mello died in the bombing in August that year, before they could get married.
Larriera and Vieira De Mello were both at the Canal Hotel in Iraq when Vieira De Mello had taken on the task of UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and UN special representative to Iraq during the peak of the conflict.
An Al-Qaeda suicide bomber attacked the Canal Hotel on August 19, 2003, killing Vieira De Mello, among 22 others. Larriera, who was in a different wing, was also caught in the blast, but survived.
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Where Is Carolina Larriera Now?
Carolina Larriera’s mother revealed that her daughter was devastated after the bombing that killed her partner. Her family had some concerns about her mental health after the traumatic incident.
A grieving Larriera was prevented from attending Vieira De Mello’s funeral, making her enraged. The UN reportedly considered Personnaz as his official spouse instead of his civil union partner, Larriera.
Even Vieira De Mello’s obituary initially mentioned that he was only survived by his wife (their divorce would have been finalized in October 2003), Annie, and their sons Adrien and Laurent. After a letter from Vieira De Mello’s family, the obituary published a correction mentioning Larriera, too.
Since then, Larriera has been a vocal critic of the UN, not just for their mistreatment of her after Vieira De Mello’s death, but also for the conditions UN employees endure in conflict zones. Even before the attack, Norma Larriera said that her daughter repeatedly complained about the poor security conditions for UN employees in Iraq and the lack of utilities provided.
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“On the eastward crossing on the Ile de France Thomas Hudson learned that hell was not necessarily as it was described by Dante or any other of the great hell-describers, but could be a comfortable, pleasant, and well-loved ship taking you toward a country that you had always sailed for with anticipation. It had many circles and they were not fixed as in those of the great Florentine egotist. He had gone aboard the ship early, thinking of it, he now knew, as a refuge from the city where he had feared meeting people who would speak to him about what had happened. He thought that on the ship he could come to some some terms of his sorrow, but not knowing, yet, that there are no terms to be made with sorrow. It can be cured by death and it can be blunted or anesthetized by varous things. Time is supposed to cure it too. But if it is cured by anything less than death, the chances are that it was not true sorrow. One of the things that blunts it temporarily through blunting everything else is drinking and another thing that cankeep the mind away from it is work. Thomas Hudson knw about both these remedies. But he also knew the drinking would destroy the capacity for producing satisfying work and he had build his life on work for so long now that he kept that as the one thing that he must not lose.” ― Ernest Hemingway, Islands in the Stream
Larriera has been outspoken about the poor security of the UN employees working in Iraq, the rescue failures, and the dismissive attitudes and negligence by the global body. Sergio Vieira De Mello’s mother, Gilda Vieira De Mello, who was a diplomat spouse herself, supported Larriera’s crusade for better conditions for UN workers.
Gilda also penned a letter to the UN about them barring her son’s fiancee from attending his funeral and for letting the wife he had been separated from for decades honor his memory. Gilda Vieira De Mello also helped Larriera overcome the speech disability she suffered from because of the trauma.
Carolina Larriera wasn’t officially acknowledged as a survivor of the Canal Hotel bombing. She would organize her own memorial for Sergio Vieira De Mello at a church with another deceased colleague’s spouse. That colleague, Robert Zash’s partner Rick Hooper, was also not acknowledged as an official partner, because they were a same-sex couple.
Larriera would be invited to events, but would not be introduced as Vieira De Mello’s widow. The event organizers reportedly feared legal action from Personnaz.
Carolina Larriera wanted to speak about Sergio Vieira De Mello and inspire a new generation of diplomats to follow in his footsteps.
Initially, she focused her energy on highlighting the conditions of the war-torn region and didn’t immediately speak about her own mistreatment.
But the unfair restrictions on her led to Larriera fighting a legal battle against Personnaz. She finally gained victory in March 2017, when the Brazilian court recognized her civil union with the deceased diplomat.
Now Larriera calls Vieira De Mello’s hometown of Rio her home. She lives there while holding on to Sergio Vieira De Mello’s memory, including the ring he was wearing the day he died, with her name engraved on it.
She left the UN on a bitter note in 2005, but continues in the same field as an international relations adviser. Larriera also teaches at Insper in Sao Paulo. According to the latest reports, she is the Head Teaching Assistant of Leadership at Harvard and a consultant for Refugee Relief International Inc. in Brazil.
Carolina Larriera has continued to champion economic justice and human rights, while also advocating for an investigation into the Canal Hotel bombings. Most recently, she made an appearance at Sundance for the January 2020 premiere of Sergio.