(CNN Spanish) — Argentina is shocked. A man tried this Thursday to assassinate Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner with a firearm in the middle of the city of Buenos Aires, in the worst attack against a political figure since 1991.
The Argentine Federal Police detained the suspect, who was identified as a citizen of Brazilian origin named Fernando Andre Sabag Montiel, according to the state news agency Télam.
Meanwhile, the weapon used, according to the Ministry of Security, was a .380 caliber pistol with five bullets.
Fernández de Kichner is the current vice president of Argentina, whose president is Alberto Fernández. Former collaborators who had fallen out with each other, Fernández de Kirchner and Fernández reunited in 2019 and won the elections, taking office in December of that same year.
President Fernández declared a national holiday in Argentina after the assassination attempt.
A long and influential political career
Prior to this position, Fernández de Kirchner was president of Argentina between 2007 and 2015 (after the mandate of her husband Néstor Kirchner, president between 2003 and 2007), and in her long political career she has also been a deputy and senator in the Argentine Congress .
In fact, Fernández de Kirchner, of Peronism, has become the most influential figure in Argentine politics in recent years, with followers and critics alike.
The assassination attempt took place in the context of a series of demonstrations in support of the vice president, who has just been accused of corruption by the Prosecutor’s Office in the case known as “Highway”, while the country is going through a tough economic situation.
Fernández de Kirchner is accused by the Prosecutor’s Office of having led an association to defraud the State when she was president, through the alleged routing of million-dollar contracts for road works in the province of Santa Cruz. The Prosecutor’s Office requested 12 years in prison for the vice president and perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Fernández de Kirchner, on the other hand, assures that this accusation of corruption has no foundation and that it is a persecution against him and the political project that the Front of All represents. He said he was not “before a court of the Constitution, but before a media-judicial firing squad” and that the sentence against him was already written.
For days, his followers have gathered on the street in front of his apartment in the Recoleta neighborhood in Buenos Aires, to reject the accusations and offer him support. The suspect approached Fernández de Kirchner while she was greeting people.
In this context, it is the most serious attack against a former president since 1991, when Raúl Alfonsín (president between 1983 and 1989 for the Radical Civic Union) was the target of another frustrated attack. In addition, it is the worst attack against an acting president, in this case a vice president, since the 1986 attack, also against Alfonsín.
On February 23, 1991, Alfonsín was in the city of San Nicolás, province of Buenos Aires, during a political act. The then former president had left power prematurely in July 1989, when in the midst of a political and economic crisis —which included hyperinflation— he decided to step aside so that Carlos Saúl Menem, winner in the elections, would assume the presidency. of that year (the transfer of command was to take place in December).
Alfonsín was speaking in the San Nicolás neighborhood before an audience made up of members of his party when Ismael Abdalá, 29, pointed a 32-caliber revolver at him and pulled the trigger: the weapon had a malfunction in the drum and the shot did not come out. , according to the state agency Telam.
It was, in fact, the third attack against Alfonsín, the first Argentine president since the return of democracy in 1983 after the military dictatorship that ruled the country since 1976. His government was marked precisely by el Trial of the Military Juntas for human rights violations, which ended with numerous convictions, and for the uprisings of military groups that denied responsibility.
In May 1986, when he was still acting president, suffered an attempted bombing, finally frustrated. Alfonsín was at the Air Force base in the city of Córdoba, when two 450-gram loaves of trotyl (TNT), among other explosives, were discovered in a sewer next to which the presidential car was going to pass, according to Telam.
While in October 1989, shortly after leaving power, burst a bomb in the building where he lived, without causing injuries.
With information from Emilia Delfino, Iván Pérez Sarmenti, Juan Pablo Varsky and Abel Alvarado from CNN.