Pistol-wielding gunman attempts to assassinate Argentina’s vice president


In the fashionable Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires, a gunman tried to shoot Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner on the night of September 1 as she was returning to her apartment.

Economy Minister Sergio Masa called the incident an “assassination attempt” on Twitter.

This comes just eight days after lawmakers warned of a “climate of extreme violence” Argentina is enduring amid cut subsidies, collapsing peso interest rates, declining foreign exchange reserves and super-high inflation of over 70%. Arrived later.

caught by a TV camera event when the Vice President arrived at her house in the evening.

Epoch Times photo
Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez speaks next to Vice President Cristina Fernandez in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 1, 2022. (Matias Baglietto/Getty Images)

Local reporters have already been on the scene about the vice president’s ongoing corruption trial, in which she faces up to 12 years in prison.

Kirchner’s loyal fans, who clashed with police protesting her trial on August 27, made up most of the crowd that stood outside her home.

As Kirchner addressed her supporters and the press, the gunman stepped forward from the crowd, thrust a Bersa .32-caliber pistol into her face, and pulled the trigger without hesitation.

But the gun didn’t fire.

Guards scrambled to cover for Kirchner while supporters in the red-shirted crowd turned on the gunmen. The Department of National Security said the vice president was released from danger shortly after the incident.

Authorities said they had arrested the shooter, a 35-year-old man reportedly from Brazil. Police confirmed that the gun’s magazine was full and “fit for firing”, despite failing to fire a bullet during the close-range attack.

President Alberto Fernandez addressed the nation on the evening of September 1, calling the attack on Kirchner “a great concern” and the worst violence the country has suffered since its return to democracy in the 1980s. said there is.

The head of state condemned the “hate speech” as an attempt on Kirchner’s life, arguing that it created a dangerous situation for Argentine democracy and that it needed to be excluded from society and the media.

“Violence cannot coexist with democracy,” Fernandez said in his speech.

Officials have blamed the opposition, sparking outrage over Kirchner’s trial for the attack.

The vice president, who was indicted in 2016 for fraud, is now on trial for “administrative dishonesty” and conspired with Argentina’s central bank to sell billions of dollars in currency futures below the market in 2015. Sold at a rate.

But amid the country’s ongoing economic spiral, months of protests against inflation and few foreign exchange reserves, locals have become increasingly desperate and angry with elected officials. .

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Protesters demanding economic solutions march toward Casa Rosada on August 4, 2022. (Autumn Spredemann/The Epoch Times)

It led to the rise of anti-socialism called “anti-Kirchnerism”.

Some locals have directly accused the former two-term president-turned-vice-president of being responsible for the state’s vicious cycle.

And this isn’t the first time someone has threatened to kill a controversial left-wing politician.

On July 21, protesters threw garbage, kicked doors and made death threats outside the Instituto Patria, where Kirchner has his office.

The demonstration was led by a young man who yelled “with a machine gun” to go find the Vice President.

Police near the scene watched the demonstration leader continue to threaten her with a megaphone to “take her to the gallows”.

“Christina, now it’s your turn to hang yourself. That’s the only way to get rid of you,” he yelled in front of the police.

Argentina’s most vulnerable people are the worst affected by the country’s economic catastrophe. More than 40% of his population now lives below the poverty line amid soaring food and energy prices.

To make matters worse, residents have preemptively withdrawn more than $1 billion from state-run banks in the past seven weeks over fears the government will confiscate the dollar and replace it with a devalued peso. is.

Argentina has long used the dollar as an inflation buffer, but with its foreign exchange reserves near zero, the government cannot afford to pay its external debt or meet its obligations under a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I can’t do it either.

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Argentina’s poverty rate has reached 40% and homeless camps are a common sight in Buenos Aires on August 5, 2022. (Autumn Spredemann/The Epoch Times)

“Argentina’s economic crisis is very serious. Andrew Lokenauth told the Epoch Times.

The Fernandez administration entrusted its hopes of survival to the IMF, which approved a $44 billion “extension agreement” over 30 months. march.

However, conditions must be met for more money to be handed over. Among other things, the government must ameliorate the country’s economic quagmire by curbing inflation and increasing foreign exchange reserves.

Lokenauth believes this is unlikely to happen and says Argentina will be in bad shape for the foreseeable future.

he said: Over a third of his population lives in poverty. ”

Meanwhile, as homeless camps continue to pop up across the city, including in wealthy neighborhoods, parliamentarians are racking their brains at attempts to take Kirchner’s life.

Of the estimated 13 million people living in the capital’s metropolitan area, more than 5 million live in extreme poverty in slum areas called ‘villas’.

A comment from the Vice President’s office was not available prior to publication.

autumn spreedeman

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Autumn is a South American-based reporter who primarily covers Latin American issues for The Epoch Times.