Argentina declares detained the man who tried to assassinate Cristina Kirchner

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Argentina arrested a man Thursday night who tried to shoot Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, President Alberto Fernández said, in an attempted attack he called “the most serious thing that has happened since we regained democracy”.

Video footage captured a man pointing a gun at the vice president’s head in the capital, Buenos Aires. The gun was loaded with five bullets and the man pulled the trigger, Fernández said, although the gun did not fire. Kirchner, 69, is unharmed and is being guarded by federal law enforcement. The incident is under investigation.

A 35-year-old Brazilian has been taken into custody, according to the Argentine Minister of Security. In video of the episode posted by a social media TV channel, a click is heard as the gun is brandished inches from the vice president’s face.

“We are facing an event that has an extreme institutional and human gravity. Our vice president was attacked,” Fernández said.

Kirchner, a left-wing populist, previously served as the country’s president from 2007 to 2015 and first lady from 2003 to 2007. The incident happened near her residence, where dozens of people had gathered in support of the vice -president, who faces trial on corruption charges.

“It was an assassination attempt,” wrote the vice president’s lawyer, Gregorio Dalbón. Twitter, urging the Argentine justice to react quickly. “Hate and violence end badly.”

“This serious incident demands immediate and profound clarification from justice and security forces,” tweeted Mauricio Macri, a right-wing former president, after the attack.

Argentina’s legislature, which is controlled by Kirchner allies, plans to create a special commission to investigate the attack.

Kirchner, a divisive figure on the Argentine political scene, faces up to 12 years in prison for his alleged involvement in a corruption scheme involving public contracts. She denied any involvement and called the trial an example of “political persecution”.

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Axel Kicillof, an ally of Kirchner and governor of the province of Buenos Aires, described the attack on Twitter as “one of the worst episodes in our history.

“Those who insist on persecuting, inciting violence and even calling for the death penalty must stop now. You cannot continue to promote hatred and violence,” he wrote.

“All my solidarity with my friend Cristina Kirchner, victim of a fascist criminal who failed to respect differences and diversity”, tweeted Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose tenure as Brazilian president overlapped with Kirchner’s as Argentina’s first leader. “Cristina is a woman who deserves the respect of any democrat in the world. Thank goodness she escaped unscathed.

There is no immediate evidence that the alleged attacker had political motivations. Fernández, the president, asked the judge in charge of the investigation to ensure the safety of the alleged attacker while in custody.

Argentina is facing one of the worst inflation crises in the world, with interest rates around 70%. The country has gone through three economy ministers since July.

A rift over how to handle the economic crisis has divided Kirchner and the president. Kirchner championed a universal basic income, while Fernández named economic policymakers who lean toward austerity.

Kirchner’s late husband and presidential predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, helped pull Argentina out of economic collapse. Together they built an economic movement defined by brutal economic intervention and growth, but its legacy has been marred by accusations of corruption.

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