Vice President Cristina Fernández of Argentina on Thursday night survived an assassination attempt as a man pointed a pistol at her head.
According to video footage and the president’s statement, the man tried to pull the trigger, but the gun did not go off. Mrs Kirchner was unharmed.
“Cristina is still alive because, for reasons that have not been confirmed technically, the weapon, which was loaded with five bullets, did not fire,” New York Times quoted President Alberto Fernández as saying in an address to the nation. “This is the most serious event since we recovered our democracy.”
The federal police have arrested Fernando Andres Sabag Montiel, 35, a Brazilian man living in Argentina, in connection with the attack, according to the Buenos Aires police.
According to the police, they had come into contact with Mr Montiel at least once before, in March 2021, when he was sitting in a parked car without a license plate. When he was asked to retrieve car documents from the glove box, a knife fell out.
Mrs Kirchner on Thursday was getting out of her vehicle outside her home, where a large crowd had gathered. A man quickly approached and pointed a gun, inches from her face, according to video footage and the authorities.
A click was heard in the video suggesting the man tried to pull the trigger. Mrs Kirchner squatted and the man was taken away.
Mrs Kirchner, a leftist former president who is the most prominent leader in Argentina, with three decades in the public eye, is on trial on corruption charges. Her supporters rallied outside her home in Buenos Aires since last week, sometimes clashing with the police.
Mr Fernández declared Friday a national holiday so Argentines could “defend life and democracy in solidarity with our vice president.”
“The outcry, horror and repudiation that this event generates in us should become a permanent commitment to eradicate hate and violence from our democratic lives,” he said.
Members of Argentina’s Congress said they had formed a commission to investigate the episode.
Mrs Kirchner, 69, was the first female Argentina president from 2007 to 2015 and the first lady from 2003 to 2007, when her husband, Néstor Kirchner, was president.
In 2019, she returned to the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s presidential offices, after masterminding a political ticket in which she would run for vice president and Mr Fernández would seek the presidency.
Mr Fernández is not expected to run for re-election next year because of dismal approval ratings amid the spiralling inflation in Argentina’s economy.
Chiamaka Okafor is a reporter at Premium Times in partnership with Report for the World, which matches local newsrooms with talented emerging journalists to report on under-covered issues around the globe.
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