Kirchner’s Cristina Fernandez survives assassination attempt after shooter’s gun jams

Kirchner’s Cristina Fernandez survives assassination attempt after shooter’s gun jams
Kirchner’s Cristina Fernandez survives assassination attempt after shooter’s gun jams

A man has been arrested in Argentina after pointing a gun at Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner as she greeted supporters outside her residence in Buenos Aires, a rare case of political violence in the South American nation.

Video footage circulating on social media late Thursday showed a man approaching within inches of the vice president and pulling the trigger on the gun, which did not fire. The man was arrested at the scene.

The incident comes at a time when Argentina is bitterly polarized after years of economic crisis and political infighting. Even the Peronist ruling coalition is split between far-left supporters of Kirchner and more moderate supporters of President Alberto Fernandez.

Fernandez said the incident was an “attempt on the life” of the vice president and called on Argentines to work for a peaceful society.

A video of the attack is shared on Twitter and has been viewed millions of times.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the left-leaning former Brazilian president seeking defeat Jair Bolsonaro in next month’s election, tweeted his solidarity with Kirchner.

“This violence and political hatred encouraged by some is a threat to democracy in our region,” he said.

Government and opposition officials in Argentina united in denouncing the attack, with senators from both sides coming together for a photo in congress showing their support for all parties. As vice president, Kirchner is the leader of the senate.

Former President Mauricio Macri, a political rival of Kirchner, condemned the incident, asking the justice and security system to clarify the events around the situation as soon as possible.

The attacker is a 35-year-old man of Brazilian nationality living in Argentina who had a history of carrying weapons, according to the Clarin newspaper. Brazilian Foreign Minister Carlos Franca said the country’s embassy in Buenos Aires was monitoring the situation closely.

Corruption case

Crowds have gathered outside Kirchner’s home in the Recoleta neighborhood of Buenos Aires since a federal prosecutor last week called for 12 years in prison and a life ban from public office for the former president as part of of a trial for corruption.

Kirchner is accused of alleged fraud and leading an “illicit association” with other government officials and businessmen, whose companies received numerous public works contracts while she was president of Argentina from 2007 to 2015.

The vice president, who holds top-tier immunity in her dual role in the Senate, has long denied any wrongdoing, lambasting the charges as politically motivated. She is unlikely to face a short-term prison sentence.

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