Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was unharmed Thursday when a man with a loaded gun tried to shoot her, but the gun did not explode, officials said.
The attack underscores rising political tensions in Argentina and the region that have left politicians on edge, from Colombia to Brazil.
“A man pointed a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Cristina is still alive because, for some reason yet to be confirmed, the gun did not fire,” President Alberto Fernandez said in a televised address.
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The president said the gun was loaded with five bullets.
“It is the most serious event we have gone through since Argentina returned to democracy,” he said.
Fernandez de Kirchner is on trial for corruption and hundreds of supporters had gathered outside her home in Buenos Aires when the attack took place.
Video footage showed a man holding a gun inches from her head as she greeted supporters.
The attacker, whom authorities identified as a 35-year-old man of Brazilian descent, was quickly arrested by police and the gun seized.
Fernandez de Kirchner, who served as president for two terms between 2007 and 2015, is a divisive figure in Argentina.
She could face a 12-year sentence and possible disqualification from public service for public contracts awarded in the early 2000s.
Fernandez de Kirchner is expected to run for the Senate and possibly for President in next year’s general election.
“When hate and violence prevail over debate, societies are destroyed and situations like this arise: the assassination attempt,” Economy Minister Sergio Massa said on Twitter.
Heads of state and political allies from across the region, including Chilean President Gabriel Boric, Venezuelan Nicolas Maduro, Peruvian Pedro Castillo and Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva denounced the attack in posts on Twitter , expressing solidarity with Fernandez de Kirchner and relief that she was not injured.
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