Argentina Vice President Assasination Bid Foiled, 35-Year-Old Brazilian Held; National Holiday Declared

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Police officers in Buenos Aires have detained Brazilian 35-year-old Fernando Sabak Montiel who on late Thursday night pointed a gun at Argentine vice president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, news agency Buenos Aires Times reported citing Argentine security minister Aníbal Fernández.

In videos that have now gone viral, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner could be seen arriving at her apartment in Buenos Aires’ Recoleta and meeting supporters when suddenly a hand appeared holding a gun on her face. He pulled the gun but it did not fire.

Investigators are trying to ascertain if Montiel attempted to fire the weapon or if it misfired, Buenos Aires Times reported. However, the Argentinian president Alberto Fernández said: “Cristina remains alive because, for a reason not yet technically confirmed, the gun, which had five bullets in it, did not fire despite having been triggered.”

Montiel emerged from the crowd who were gathered outside the affluent neighbourhood of Recoleta who were protesting against the trial being conducted against Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Montiel also asked for an autograph for a copy of her best-selling autobiographical book, Sinceramente.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is on trial for fraudulently awarding public works contracts in her constituency of Santa Cruz Province in Patagonia. Hundreds of protesters have gathered for days in the streets of Argentina’s Juncal and Uruguay streets for more than a week demanding that the trial be halted.

Prosecutors demand that the 69-year-old face 12 years in jail and a lifetime ban from politics. Tensions have been high in Argentina as the trial against the vice-president progresses.

But the Argentine vice president enjoys parliamentary immunity. The trial verdict is due towards the end of this year but she will not go to jail until her sentence is ratified by the Argentinian Supreme Court or until she loses her Senate seat at the 2023 elections.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner accuses the opposition parties of ‘judicial and political persecution’ and denies the allegations. The vice president faces five more trials and was acquitted in several cases for alleged crimes when she was Argentine president.

The Argentinian president Alberto Fernández said Thursday night said the incident was ‘most serious’ since Argentina recovered democracy in 1983. He showed solidarity with the vice president.

“Today, shortly after 9pm, a man made an attempt on the life of the current vice-president of the nation and twice constitutional president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. This is an extremely serious act, the most serious that has happened since we recovered our democracy,” the president was quoted as saying by Buenos Aires Times. He declared a national holiday on Friday.

The Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, Bolivia president Luis Arce as well former Bolivia president Evo Morales, former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and US ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley also condemned the incident.

The world was shocked when earlier this year former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated by a person in his 40s named Yamagami Tetsuya who shot the former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) chief with a handmade pistol.

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