Argentina Vice President Cristina Kirchner narrowly escaped death Thursday night when a man pointed a gun at her head during a walkabout. The weapon did not function for an unknown reason.
Argentina was in shock on Friday the day after an assassination attempt in Buenos Aires on Vice President Cristina Kirchner, which sparked a wave of unanimous condemnation in the Latin American country as in abroad.
A man was arrested Thursday night after trying to shoot Cristina Kirchner with a pistol at the bottom of her home, outside which hundreds of activists are gathering every evening for eleven days to show their support for the former head of state, currently on trial for fraud and corruption.
“Cristina is alive, because for some reason that has not yet been technically confirmed, the weapon that contained five bullets did not fire despite having been triggered. »
— Alberto Fernandez, President of Argentina
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According to footage from multiple televisions, the man pointed a handgun at Ms. Kirchner's head, just a few feet away, and pulled the trigger with no shots going off, as the guns went off. #x27;she was signing books and mingling with well-wishers, in the Recoleta neighborhood.
I saw that arm pop up over my shoulder behind me with a weapon, and with people around me he was subdued, told AFP on the spot support from Ms. Kirchner, who did not wish to give her name.
Police officers then seized the suspect, led him in a police car to an adjoining street, immediately surrounded by a thick cordon of police officers.
This one left shortly after under the cries and boos of several dozen people present, noted AFP.
The Head of State denounced a fact of enormous gravity, the most serious to have occurred since our country regained democracy in 1983. He announced that he had decreed a national holiday on Friday, so that in the peace and harmony the Argentine people can express themselves in defense of life, of democracy, and in solidarity with our vice-president.
The government coalition Frente de Todos announced a demonstration in defense of democracy on Friday at midday in Buenos Aires.
The crossroads in front of the building where Ms. Kirchner lives was quickly cordoned off with ribbons crime scene, and police were taking samples.
According to several Argentine media, the suspect is a 30-year-old Brazilian, unconfirmed information from official sources.
The former president (2007-2015) is currently on trial for fraud and corruption. On August 22, the prosecution requested a 12-year prison sentence and life ineligibility against her in this trial, which concerns the awarding of public contracts in her stronghold of Santa Cruz (south), during her two presidential terms.
Argentine President Alberto Fernandez and his Vice-President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in front of the congress, in Buenos Aires, on March 1, 2020.
In a highly polarized Argentine political landscape, the indictment has given rise to several demonstrations of support for Ms. Kirchner by the hard core of the Peronist left of which she is the icon. Rallies took place last week in several cities. And each evening, several hundred worshipers gathered near his home, singing and chanting their support.
There were only a few dozen of them Thursday evening at the time of the incident, and the atmosphere remained eerily calm in the hours that followed. Among them, Martin Frias, 48, a long-time Peronist, who was sorry to AFP for a climate of political violence in the country. Violence in the words, which lead to violent acts.
Over the hours, after the announcement of the attack, hundreds of people flocked to the intersection of Juncal and Uruguay streets, chanting If they touch Cristina, what a mess is brewing!, and holding signs Todos somos Cristina [we are all Cristina].
The assassination attempt was immediately condemned by the entire government camp as well as by the opposition coalition Juntos por el cambio [Together for change].
The leader of the right-wing opposition and successor to Mrs. Kirchner in the presidency Maurico Macri (2015-2019) expressed his absolute condemnation of the attack suffered by Cristina Kirchner, who did not fortunately had no consequences for the vice-president.
Abroad, several Latin American leaders, on the left in the first place, reacted in the evening. The assassination attempt against Vice President Cristina Kirchner deserves rejection and condemnation from across the continent, Chilean President Gabriel Boric tweeted.
All my solidarity to comrade @CFKArgentina, victim of a fascist criminal who does not know how to respect differences and diversity, said ex-president and presidential candidate of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva .
The United States for its part strongly condemns the attempted assassination of Cristina Kirchner.
We stand by the sides with the government and people of Argentina in rejecting violence and hatred, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote on his Twitter account.
Adored by a part of the Peronist left, but divisive personality hated by the opposition, Cristina Kirchner, 69, remains seven years after her departure from the presidency an influential figure in Argentine politics, one year from a presidential election for which she has not made her intentions known.
A verdict in her trial should not be revoked. until the end of 2022. Even if convicted, she enjoys parliamentary immunity as President of the Senate and may not go to prison or even run for the general elections in October 2023.