A 35-year-old Brazilian has been arrested, according to Argentina’s security minister. In a video of the episode posted by a TV network on social media, a click can be heard as the gun is swung inches from the vice president’s face.
“We are facing an event of extreme institutional and human seriousness. Our vice president was attacked,” Fernández said in a national midnight address.
Kirchner, a left-wing populist, was previously President of Germany from 2007 to 2015 and First Lady from 2003 to 2007. The incident took place near her home, where dozens had gathered to support the vice president, who is facing charges of corruption.
“It was an assassination,” wrote the Vice President’s attorney, Gregorio Dalbón Twitter, and urged the Argentine judicial system to respond quickly. “Hate and violence end badly.”
“This serious incident requires an immediate and thorough investigation by the judiciary and security forces,” tweeted Mauricio Macri, a right-wing former president, after the attack.
Argentina’s legislature, controlled by Kirchner allies, plans to set up a special committee to investigate the attack.
Kirchner, a divisive figure in Argentina’s political scene, faces up to 12 years in prison for her alleged involvement in a government procurement-related corruption scheme. She has denied involvement and described the trial as a case of “political persecution”.
Axel Kicillof, a Kirchner ally 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 prosecuting, inciting violence and even calling for the death penalty must stop now. You cannot continue to promote hate and violence,” he wrote.
“All my solidarity goes to my friend Cristina Kirchner, victim of a fascist criminal, who did not know how to respect differences and diversity.” tweeted Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose tenure as Brazilian President overlapped Kirchner’s tenure as Argentina’s supreme leader. “Cristina is a woman who deserves the respect of every Democrat around the world. Thank God she escaped unhurt.”
There is no direct evidence that the alleged attacker was politically motivated. Fernández, the President, asked the judge investigating the case to ensure the safety of the alleged attacker while in custody.
Argentina is facing one of the worst inflationary crises in the world, with interest rates at around 70 percent. The country has gone through three economy ministers since July.
A disagreement over how to deal with the economic crisis split Kirchner and the president. Kirchner has championed universal basic income, while Fernández has appointed economists leaning toward austerity.
Kirchner’s late husband and President’s predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, helped lead Argentina out of economic collapse. together they built an economic movement defined by lumbering economic intervention and growth, but its legacy has been tarnished by allegations of bribery.