Shock, anger after assassination attempt on Argentinian Vice President Kirchner

Shock, anger after assassination attempt on Argentinian Vice President Kirchner
Shock, anger after assassination attempt on Argentinian Vice President Kirchner

Messages of shock and solidarity poured in from around the world on Friday after a man tried to shoot Argentinian Vice President Cristina Kirchner at point-blank range.

As tens of thousands of Argentines took to the streets to massively denounce political violence, the Pope, UN, American and Latin American leaders sent messages of support.

Kirchner, 69, survived the attack outside his Buenos Aires home on Thursday after a loaded handgun aimed directly at his face at close range apparently failed to detonate.

The dramatic incident was filmed.

The police were investigating whether the assailant, arrested at the scene, had acted alone. An aggravated homicide case has been opened.

The man in custody has been identified as Fernando Andre Sabag Montiel, 35, a Brazilian with an Argentinian mother.

He had previously been arrested for illegal possession of weapons, according to police sources cited by the Telam news agency.

Footage from his social media showed the man sporting a Nazi tattoo, and police told reporters they found 100 bullets in an apartment he was renting on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.

Footage of the incident shows a man pointing a handgun directly at Kirchner, who served as president from 2007 to 2015 and faces corruption charges dating back to that time. The weapon failed to fire.

The incident happened in Buenos Aires’ upscale Recoleta neighborhood, where supporters have gathered every night since August 22, when Argentine prosecutors announced they would seek a 12-year sentence for Kirchner in a ongoing corruption case, and his ban from politics.

“I saw this arm go over my shoulder behind me with a gun, and with people around me it was overpowered,” a witness, who did not give his name, told AFP. .

Another, who would only give her first name, Teresa, said: “We were expecting our beloved Cristina. And she just came down to greet everyone, like every night, to greet people. And all of a sudden there was a commotion, and it was this guy who pointed (a gun) at her.”

The crime scene was cordoned off by police on Friday, with a handful of Kirchner supporters gathered nearby.

‘Solidarity’

President Alberto Fernandez announced to the nation that “Cristina remains alive, because for a reason that has not yet been technically confirmed, the weapon that contained five bullets did not fire although the trigger was pressed” .

He said it was “the most serious event that has happened since we restored democracy” in 1983.

The president declared Friday a public holiday.

Pope Francis, himself a former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, sent Kirchner a telegram expressing his “solidarity”, according to the Vatican.

UN chief Antonio Guterres was “shocked” by the events and “condemns the violence”, a spokeswoman said.

And US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted: “We stand with the government and people of Argentina in rejecting violence and hatred.”

For his part, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed “unequivocal condemnation of this assassination attempt”.

Latin American politicians also offered their support, with messages from Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Gabriel Boric of Chile, Luis Arce of Bolivia, Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Guillermo Lasso of Ecuador, among others.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the former president of Brazil locked in a fierce electoral battle, called Kirchner’s attacker a “fascist criminal”.

His rival, incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro – who survived an assassination attempt during the election campaign in 2018 – said he sent Kirchner a note of commiseration.

“Fortunately the aggressor did not know how to handle weapons,” added the controversial far-right leader.

“Defending Democracy”

In Argentina, the opposition group Together for Change condemned the attack and called for a full investigation.

“My absolute repudiation of the attack suffered by Cristina Kirchner, who fortunately was not injured,” tweeted opposition leader Mauricio Macri, who served as president after Kirchner.

The ruling Front of All coalition has called for protests in central Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo and other cities “to defend democracy”.

Thousands of people answered the call.

“I go to Plaza de Mayo first in support of democracy, then in support of Cristina, so she knows we are there,” Adriana Spina, a 61-year-old retired teacher, told AFP.

Kirchner enjoys a staunch base of support among supporters of the center-left Peronism movement inherited from former President Juan Peron, but is equally hated by the political opposition.

On Twitter, several critics speculated on Friday that the attack was staged to bolster support for Kirchner at a time of legal trouble.

Kirchner, a lawyer who succeeded her late husband Nestor Kirchner as president, is accused of fraudulently awarding public works contracts in her political stronghold of Patagonia.

Government prosecutors accuse him of defrauding the state of approximately $1 billion. She denies the allegations.

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. shock anger after assassination attempt vice president argentina Kirchner

. Shock anger assassination attempt Argentinian Vice President Kirchner

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