Argentina: The day they tried to assassinate Cristina Kirchner
is the headline of the news that the author of WTM News has collected this article. Stay tuned to WTM News to stay up to date with the latest news on this topic. We ask you to follow us on social networks.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner never saw a gun pointed at her. On Thursday night, when the vice president was returning to her house surrounded by a crowd, a man circumvented the fence of the police and the militants and triggered a pistol inches from his head. “Cristina, I love you” was the last thing heard before the failed assassination attempt. The weapon did not work and the former president was unharmed without knowing what had happened. Her gaze had drifted to the ground a second before the attempted shot: she touched her head and bent down to pick up the book that a militant had handed her for her to sign.
One of the protesters jumped on the assailant. Others seconded him and grappled with him. Part of the police custody dragged him down the street and the vice president continued on her way to her house, unaware of the incident. The assassination attempt on the most relevant political figure in the country in the last 20 years has shocked Argentina, which this weekend is still wondering why the man fired and why the bullets did not come out.
Fernando Sabag Montiel, a 35-year-old application driver, had five bullets in the magazine of his pistol. Authorities are investigating whether he acted alone. The phone that the police seized barely had eight calls in the history. The last one, according to what was reported in local media, is at 10 at night: almost an hour after the attack. Sabag Montiel was carrying an old 32-caliber Bersa revolver, an Argentine-made compact weapon. According to the police report, the weapon was “capable of firing”, but there was no bullet in the exit chamber.
The attacker had not activated the slide, and the authorities still do not know if he did it out of ignorance or if his intention was not to shoot to kill. Sabag Montiel refused to testify and only accepted an official defense attorney. The vice president said in her statement that she did not notice the attacker in the melee. Judge María Eugenia Capuchetti and prosecutor Carlos Rívolo investigate the incident based on 23 interviews between militants, guards and the police. The accusation against the attacker is qualified homicide.
The former president lives on a fifth floor on the corner of Uruguay and Juncal streets in the Recoleta neighborhood, one of the richest in the city of Buenos Aires. Sabag Montiel’s arrival time is a mystery, but she probably settled in the area early to mingle with her supporters. The Kirchnerist vigil has been installed in Recoleta for almost two weeks, after on August 22 a prosecutor asked her for 12 years in prison for alleged corruption.
“A year of sentence for each year of which we were happy”, Kirchner usually repeats, referring to the 12 years in which she governed together with her husband Néstor Kirchner, between 2003 and 2015. The intensity of the demonstration depends on the schedules of the vice president. The crowd gathers in the middle of the morning to see her come out of it, and a few faithful remain on guard duty the rest of the day. The main door, on the Uruguay side, is closed. The former president enters and leaves every day through a small service door on Juncal.
So far, no recording has been released that places Sabag Montiel in front of Kirchner’s house when that Thursday, around noon, the vice president left her home for the Senate to cheers and applause. At two in the afternoon she was going to head the parliamentary session, but shortly before that she met in her office with Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel.
“Thank you for your solidarity,” she wrote on the networks by publishing a photograph with the human rights leader, who expressed her support for the open cases against her. Cristina Kirchner considers herself the victim of judicial persecution, orchestrated by a right wing in which she places former President Maurcio Macri, the big media and businessmen. Kirchner defended himself against the accusations in a live broadcast on social networks two weeks ago. She said that in Argentina there is a “judicial party” that has decided to ban her from politics, fearful that in 2023 she will be her candidate and obtain a third term.
Kichner remained in his office for much of the afternoon. He also had a meeting with MEPs and another with directors of Petronas, the Malaysian state oil company, which is promoting a project in Argentina to build a natural gas liquefaction plant. Meanwhile, a few meters away, the legislators demanded his presence in the Senate session that was underway. “The times of impunity are running out,” said the radical Carolina Losada in the same parliamentary session, to which the vice president did not appear again.
Fernández de Kirchner returned home that day a little before nine at night, in an operation that had become customary this week: two cars turned the corner of his building while the traffic agents of the city of Buenos Aires They controlled that the crowd did not overflow the sidewalks, the Argentine federal police watched the surroundings and the organized militancy created a cordon to open space for cars. The vice president stopped to say hello and sign autographs. She then entered the building through the service door. The attack altered the routine of the last two weeks.
Fernando André Sabag Montiel was born in Brazil 35 years ago, but moved to Argentina with his family when he was six. He lived in a small one room apartment on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. In his house, authorities found 100 bullets of a caliber that did not match the gun he was carrying on Thursday, two public transportation cards that were not registered in his name, and the mess of dishes and dirty clothes from the. “He didn’t seem crazy in the slightest. He was always very polite. He called me ‘sir’, always with respect. That is why we are so surprised”, Sergio Paroldi, the man who rented the apartment to him, said on television.
“Neither Cristina nor Milei,” said the attacker in a street interview at the end of July, when the country saw its third Economy Minister arrive in a month and the devaluation of the peso did not give rest. The phrase, which he launched between laughter and congratulations from the hosts of the program, adds unknowns about why he decided to attack the vice president: he declares himself against her, but he does not accept Javier Milei either, a far-right deputy who took 24 hours to repudiate the attack against the vice president.
Salim, as the attacker called himself on social networks, already had a criminal record. On March 17, 2021, he was arrested for driving in a car without license plates. and carry a 35 centimeter knife. Lucía wore hateful tattoos, linked to the Nazi party, an ideology that she reproduced on social networks with photos where she almost always went out alone: in front of the mirror or in the gym. On her left elbow she wears a black sun, a schwarze sonne in German, an esoteric symbol that the Nazis used as an amulet of the strength of the Aryan race.
According to the newspaper report Or Balloon, his story hides a family tragedy. Three generations of his family lived in Brazil. The son of an Argentine and a Chilean, his paternal grandfather murdered his second wife and then committed suicide in an apartment in São Paulo. His father, Fernando Ernesto Montiel, has a long history of court cases for multiple crimes, including theft and embezzlement. He even faced expulsion from Brazil in February 2020. His mother, who lived with him in Buenos Aires, died in 2017.
In the attacker’s apartment they also found his mother’s birth certificate, with which he intended to claim his inheritance in court, according to the portal. Infobae. Sabag Montiel wanted the car that her mother had left behind when she died.
The attacker had a girlfriend for a month, they lived and worked together. They have known each other for four months. In a television interview, he said that he never saw the gun and that his boyfriend was “a good, hard-working man.” “I’m scared. They blame us for something we did not do, they say we are a terrorist group, but we have nothing to do with it, ”he said in front of the camera, flanked by a group of men. A teenage friend stated that Sabag Montiel “had nothing to lose” and that he had bought the weapon in an informal settlement in the city. “I think her original intention was to kill her, unfortunately she didn’t rehearse before,” he said on television, in a sentence that summarizes the normalization of hatred of the former president in recent years.
Criticism in the streets and on social networks in recent weeks has had a much more aggressive tone than that expressed in the parliamentary precinct on the afternoon of the attack. Many detractors refer to the vice president as “churra”, the most derogatory way to call her a thief, and “mare”. In the demonstrations against the Government there is usually an inflatable with his face dressed in a striped prison suit, drawings of guillotines, body bags and the chant “Argentina, without Cristina.”
This weekend, Peronism returned to the streets after years, in a demonstration that was promoted by the Government as a “defense of democracy”, but ended up being a massive hug for the former president. The president, Alberto Fernández, called for an end to the hate speech that, in his opinion, led to the attack, but his words did not reach everyone. Part of Argentine society believes that the attempted murder was a setup to benefit the vice president. The others trust that the progress of the investigation will clear up all doubts.
Subscribe here to newsletter of EL PAÍS America and receive all the informative keys of the current affairs of the region