Argentina’s Vice President (VP) Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner survived a deadly attack in which a man fired a loaded weapon that failed to get within inches of her face.
“A man pointed a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Cristina is still alive because, for a reason that remains to be confirmed, the weapon did not fire,” said President Alberto Fernandez.
Footage released by Reuters shows Fernandez de Kirchner walking through a crowd of supporters outside his Buenos Aires home as a man held a gun pointed at his face.
The president said the gun was loaded with five bullets, but did not explode.
“It is the most serious event we have gone through since Argentina returned to democracy,” he said.
The alleged attacker was identified as a 35-year-old Brazilian and his gun was seized as he was quickly arrested by police.
The attack has been described as an assassination attempt and comes amid a corruption trial against Fernandez de Kirchner who served as president between 2007 and 2015.
She is currently on trial for corruption related to public contracts awarded in the early 2000s.
The case is based on a 12-year period in which 51 contracts were awarded to companies owned by Lazaro Baez, a businessman friend and associate of the Kirchners.
According to Al Jazeera, Baez went from bank clerk to founder of a construction company in the days before Nestor Kirchner (Fernandez de Kirchner’s husband) took office in 2003.
Baez was convicted of money laundering last year.
If convicted, Fernandez de Kirchner faces up to 12 years in prison and possible disqualification from public office. However, she consistently denies the charges.
Argentina also found itself sinking deeper into an economic crisis fueled by rising debt and inflation, which sparked street protests, undermining general public morale.
Several politicians in the region expressed their solidarity and condemned the attack.
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