Man with a loaded gun threatens Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner outside her home in capital Buenos Aires, in what officials say was an “assassination bid.”
A man has been detained after he aimed a handgun at point-blank range toward Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in what President Alberto Fernandez called a homicide attempt.
“A man pointed a firearm at her head and pulled the trigger,” the president said in a national broadcast late on Thursday, adding the gun loaded with five bullets didn’t fire.
The president shortly after video from the scene broadcast on local television channels showed Kirchner exiting her vehicle surrounded by supporters outside her home when a man could be seen extending his hand with what looked like a pistol.
The vice president ducked.
The man, who had not been identified, was detained seconds into the incident.
Several television channels broadcast footage of the man aiming a gun at the vice president’s head from close range as she was getting out of the car that was taking her home in Buenos Aires.
Unverified video posted on social media shows the pistol almost touching her face. Government officials were quick to describe the incident as an assassination attempt.
The gun did not go off as the man, who approached Kirchner as part of a crowd gathering around the politician to ask for her autograph, waved the weapon in her face. Local media reported the suspect was a Brazilian national.
Economy Minister Sergio Massa called the incident an “attempted assassination”.
“When hate and violence prevail over debate, societies are destroyed and situations like these arise: attempted assassination,” he said on Twitter.
Support from Venezuela
Kirchner’s opponent party Together for Change condemned the attack.
“My absolute repudiation of the attack suffered by Cristina Kirchner, who fortunately was not injured. This very serious act requires an immediate and deep investigation by prosecutors and security forces,” Mauricio Macri, who was president from 2015 to 2019, tweeted.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, a strong Kirchner ally who has called the accusations against her a “farse,” also tweeted his support Thursday night.
“We send our solidarity to Vice President Cristina Kirchner in the face of the attack against her life,” he wrote. “We strenuously reject this act that sought to destabilize the peace of our brother Argentine people. The great homeland is with you, comrade!”
Hundreds of activists have gathered in recent days in front of the home of Kirchner, who is accused of fraudulently awarding public works contracts in her stronghold in Patagonia.
Prosecutors have asked that the ex-president, who ruled from 2007 to 2015, face 12 years in jail and a lifetime ban from politics.
Kirchner, 69, is the Senate president and enjoys parliamentary immunity.
Even if convicted –– the verdict is expected at the end of the year –– she would not go to prison unless her sentence was ratified by the country’s Supreme Court, or she loses her Senate seat at the next elections at the end of 2023.