Man points handgun at Argentine VP in ‘assassination attempt’

A man pointed a loaded handgun at Argentina’s vice president in what is being described as an assassination attempt.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was threatened outside her home in Buenos Aires on Thursday night.

The trigger was pulled but no shot was fired – indicating the gun was jammed – before the assailant was subdued and arrested.

Video of the scene broadcast on local television shows the vice president getting out of her vehicle surrounded by supporters outside her home in the upscale Recoleta neighborhood of the capital.

The suspected shooter, identified as Brazilian national Fernando Andre Sabag Montiel, has no criminal record, Argentina’s security ministry said.

He appears to reach out holding what has been confirmed to be a .32 caliber Bersa semi-automatic pistol, before former President Ms Fernandez is seen raising her hand to her face and taking cover.

The suspect was subdued within seconds by security guards.

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez said the gun was loaded with five bullets.

“A man pointed a gun to his head and pulled the trigger,” he said on a national broadcast.

The weapon “did not fire even though the trigger was pulled,” Fernandez added.

Who is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner?

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was Argentina’s first female president.

She succeeded her husband Nestor Kirchner after his resignation in 2007. She was then re-elected by a large majority in 2011 after his death in 2010.

The couple met at law school in Buenos Aires and moved to Patagonia after finishing school.

They simultaneously rose through the political ranks there, Mr. Kirchner being elected governor of Santa Cruz in the early 1990s, his wife being his deputy.

Ms. Fernandez de Kirchner then became a senator from Buenos Aires, while her husband served as president between 2003 and 2007.

The couple’s focus on human rights, increasing social spending and improving the lives of low-income families became known as “Kirchnerismo”.

Under his leadership, Argentina renewed its contracts with the International Monetary Fund after years of hostility and became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage.

A strong supporter of returning the Falkland Islands to Argentina, Ms Fernandez de Kirchner wrote to then-Prime Minister David Cameron in 2013, arguing that British rule there was a continuation of oppressive colonialism.

Now vice-president of Alberto Fernandez, she has been the subject of a corruption trial for three years.

While she vehemently denies all charges and called them a ‘media court firing squad’, she is among 13 charged with awarding government contracts to a friend while she and her husband were living in Patagonia .

Over a 12-year period, prosecutors say 51 contracts were awarded to companies owned by Lazaro Baez. The trial is expected to last until next year.

The president – who is not linked to his deputy – said the attack was “the most serious incident since we regained democracy” in 1983 after a military dictatorship.

“When hatred and violence impose themselves on the debate of ideas, societies are destroyed and generate situations like the one we see today: an assassination attempt”, declared the Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa.

The suspect was arrested nearby and a weapon was found a few meters from the scene, according to a police spokesperson.

Hundreds of demonstrators have gathered in recent days to support the former president, who is in the midst of a corruption trial.

She vehemently denies allegations that allegedly occurred during her presidency from 2007 to 2015.

The president declared Friday a public holiday “so that the Argentine people can, in peace and harmony, express themselves in defense of life, of democracy and in solidarity with our vice president.”

Man points handgun at Argentine VP in ‘assassination attempt’

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