Argentina was in shock on Friday, September 2, the day after an assassination attempt in Buenos Aires on Vice-President Cristina Kirchner, which sparked unanimous condemnations, in the country and abroad.
A man was arrested Thursday night after trying to shoot Mme Kirchner near his home, in front of which hundreds of activists have gathered every evening for eleven days to express their support for the former head of state, currently on trial for fraud and corruption.
“Cristina is alive because, for a reason that has not yet been technically confirmed, the weapon that contained five bullets did not fire despite having been triggered”said Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez in a speech a few hours after the incident.
According to several television images, the man pointed a gun at Mr.me Kirchner, just inches away, and pulled the trigger without a shot going off, as she signed books and mingled with well-wishers in the Recoleta neighborhood. “I saw this arm pop up over my shoulder behind me with a gun”told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on the spot a support from Mme Kirchner, who declined to be named.
Police officers then seized the suspect, took him in a police car to an adjoining street, immediately surrounded by a thick cordon of police officers. She left shortly after under the shouts and boos of several dozen people present, AFP noted.
The Head of State denounced a fact of“an enormous gravity, the most serious since [l’Argentine] regained democracyin 1983. It declared a national holiday on Friday, “so that, in peace and harmony, the Argentine people can express themselves in defense of life, of democracy, and in solidarity with [la] vice-president ».
The government coalition (centre-left) Frente de Todos announced a demonstration “in defense of democracy” Friday at midday, in the capital. The crossroads in front of the building where M residesme Kirchner was quickly cordoned off with “crime scene” tape 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. August 22, the prosecution requested a twelve-year prison sentence against her and ineligibility for life, in this trial which relates to the awarding of public contracts in his stronghold of Santa Cruz (in Patagonia), during his two presidential terms.
In a highly polarized Argentine political landscape, the indictment gave rise to several demonstrations of support for Mme Kirchner by the hard core of the Peronist left, of which she is the icon. Rallies took place last week in several cities. Each evening, several hundred worshipers gathered near his home, chanting and chanting their support.
As the hours passed, 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 waving 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. The leader of the right-wing opposition and successor to Mrs Kirchner as President, Mauricio Macri (2015-2019), expressed his “absolute condemnation of the attack suffered by Cristina Kirchner, which 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”, tweeted Chilean President Gabriel Boric.
“All my solidarity with the comrade [Cristina Kirchner]victim of a fascist criminal who does not know how to respect differences and diversity”, said the former president and Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Adored by part of the Peronist left, hated by the opposition, Mme Kirchner, 69, remains, seven years after leaving the presidency, an influential figure in Argentine politics, one year from a presidential election for which she has not made her intentions known.
The verdict in his trial is not expected until the end of the year. Even if convicted, she enjoys parliamentary immunity as President of the Senate and may not go to jail or even run in the October 2023 general election.