Brazilian Man Fumbles Assassination Try On Argentinian Veep
A man tried to kill Argentina’s politically powerful Vice President Cristina Fernández outside her home, but the handgun misfired, the country’s president said, Debora Rey and Almudena Calatrava reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Photo Insert: Vice President Cristina Fernández of Argentina
The man was quickly overpowered by her security officers in the incident Thursday night, officials revealed.
President Alberto Fernández, who is not related to the vice president, a former president herself, said the pistol did not discharge when the man tried to fire it. “A man pointed a firearm at her head and pulled the trigger,” the president said in a national broadcast following the incident.
He said the firearm was loaded with five bullets but “didn’t fire even though the trigger was pulled.”
The vice president did not appear to have suffered any injuries as the man was overpowered within seconds of standing among a crowd of her supporters. Gina De Bai, a witness who was near the vice president during the incident, told The Associated Press she heard “the sound of the trigger being pulled.” She said she didn’t realize it was a handgun until the man was rushed by security personnel.
President Fernández called it “the most serious incident since we recovered democracy” in 1983 after a military dictatorship and urged political leaders, and society at large, to repudiate the attempted shooting.
The attack came as the vice president is facing a trial for alleged acts of corruption during her 2007-2015 presidency — charges that she vehemently denies and that has led her supporters to surround her home in the upscale Recoleta neighborhood of Argentina’s capital.
The alleged gunman was identified as Fernando André Sabag Montiel, a Brazilian citizen, said an official at the Security Ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He does not have a criminal record, the official said, adding that the weapon was a cal. .32 Bersa.
The president declared Friday a holiday “so the Argentine people can, in peace and harmony, express itself in defense of life, democracy and in solidarity with our vice president.”
Supporters of the vice president have been gathering in the streets surrounding her home since last week when a prosecutor called for a 12-year sentence for Fernández as well as a life-long prohibition from holding public office in the corruption case.