This is a cunt the world and Argentina can do without.
Vice President Cristina Fernández was unharmed after a gunman’s weapon
failed to fire as he tried to shoot her at close range outside her home,
the country’s leader said.
Argentina’s vice president survived an assassination attempt late Thursday after a gunman’s weapon jammed as he tried to shoot her at close range
outside her home, the country's leader said.
Vice President Cristina Fernández was unharmed in the incident, which has rocked the South American nation already racked by turmoil due to
spiraling inflation and her trial on corruption charges she denies.
The man attempted to kill the vice president as she was surrounded by
large crowds of supporters outside her Buenos Aires residence around 9
p.m. local time (8 p.m. ET) Thursday, according to a statement by
President Alberto Fernández.
Video footage of the incident verified by NBC News shows the vice
president greeting boisterous supporters near a white vehicle when a hand appears from the crowd holding a black pistol. The hand appears to pull
the trigger inches from her face and a click is heard, but no shot rings
out. Members of the crowd then appear to turn and overpower the gunman.
The gun was loaded with five bullets, according to the president. “A man pointed a firearm at her head and pulled the trigger,” he said in a
national broadcast following the incident.
The alleged assailant, whom authorities identified as Brazilian national Fernando Sabag Montiel, was quickly arrested by police and the weapon was seized.
It was not immediately clear what his motive might have been. NBC News has reached out to Argentinian police and the ministry of security for further details.
The president said it was “the most serious incident since we recovered democracy,” referring to the end of the country's military junta in 1983.
"We can disagree, we can have deep disagreements, but in a democratic
society, hate speech cannot take place because it breeds violence and
there is no possibility of violence co-existing with democracy,” he said.
"Our vice president has been attacked and social peace has been
Alberto Fernández, who is not related to the vice president, called for an immediate investigation into the incident and announced Friday would be a national holiday in solidarity with her.
Other officials also decried the attack, accusing the opposition of
"When hate and violence prevail over the debate of ideas, they destroy societies and generate situations like today’s: an assassination attempt," Economy Minister Sergio Massa said on Twitter.
The vice president previously served two terms as the country's president
from 2007 to 2015. She is a politically powerful and polarizing figure in Argentina.
She faces charges of corruption during her time as president, charges she
has consistently and vehemently denied.
Supporters of the vice president have been gathering in the streets
surrounding her home in the upscale Recoleta neighborhood of Argentina’s capital since last week, when a prosecutor called for a 12-year sentence
for her, as well as a lifelong prohibition on holding public office.
Cristina Fernández became Argentina’s first elected female president in
2007. She was first lady prior to that when her husband, Néstor Kirchner,
led the country in the early 2000s. She belongs to the left-wing
Former President Mauricio Macri, a conservative who succeeded her, also condemned the attack. “This very serious event demands an immediate and profound clarification by the judiciary and security forces,” he wrote on Twitter.
Patricia Bullrich, a former minister under Macri and the leader of the opposition Republican Proposal party, criticized the president's response
to the attack.
She said the country's leader was “playing with fire” and that “instead of seriously investigating a serious incident, he accuses the opposition and
the press, decreeing a national holiday to mobilize activists.”
Tensions have been running high in the country, which is struggling with soaring inflation that could hit 70% this month, according to Reuters.
Analysts cited by the news agency expect it to hit 90% by the end of the
year, further increasing prices on food and worsening poverty in the
country of around 47 million.
In neighboring Brazil, where there are also growing fears of political
violence ahead of next month's presidential election, left-wing former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva expressed solidarity with Cristina Fernández. He said she was a “victim of a fascist criminal who doesn’t
know how to respect differences and diversity.”
Da Silva leads the polls ahead of far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro,
himself the victim of a campaign trail stabbing in 2018. Bolsonaro, a
former army captain, has fueled fears he may reject the results if he
loses the vote.
Other leaders in the region also responded to the assassination attempt Thursday.
“We emphatically repudiate the attempt on the life of sister @CFKArgentina
, vice president of #Argentina,” Bolivian President Luis Arce tweeted
following the attack.
“We strongly repudiate this action that seeks to destabilize the peace of
the brother Argentine people,” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro