Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner barely avoided being assassinated when the would-be killer’s weapon jammed just as he aimed it at her.
The vice president was greeted by crowds of people just outside her home in Recoleta, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires, on Thursday night, Business Insider reported.
From those crowds, one person emerged and pointed a handgun at her face.
But the gun did not go off.
Footage of the moment was tweeted by the journalist Lautaro Maislin and shows a hand with the gun pointing at Kirchner, but no shot was actually fired.
— Lautaro Maislin (@LautaroMaislin) September 2, 2022
In the video, a click is heard and the trigger appeared to have been pulled, but there was a failure to fire.
Police said the gunman, whom local media has identified as a 35-year-old Brazilian man, was taken into custody and they are trying to establish a motive for the attack.
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The vice president, who was also previously president of Argentina, was returning home from court, where she has faced allegations of corruption, the BBC reported. She has denied the charges.
Kirchner has been in politics for many years. Currently, she serves as vice president and from 2007 to 2015 she was the country’s left-leaning president. Four years before her presidency, she was also the first lady of Argentina.
The current President Alberto Fernández called the attack “the most serious incident since we recovered democracy,” which refers to the end of Argentina’s military junta in 1983, NBC News reported.
“We can disagree, we can have deep disagreements, but in a democratic society, hate speech cannot take place because it breeds violence and there is no possibility of violence co-existing with democracy,” the president said. “Our vice president has been attacked and social peace has been disturbed.”
President Fernández also revealed in a national broadcast following the incident that the gun pointed at Kirchner was loaded with five bullets.
“Cristina is still alive because, for some reason, the gun which was loaded with five bullets did not fire, despite the trigger being pulled,” he said, the Financial Times reported.
The president also called for an immediate investigation into the situation and announced that Friday would be a national holiday to stand in solidarity with the vice president.
Other Argentinian officials have also spoken out about the attack, condemning it and even accusing political opposition of promoting violence.
“When hate and violence prevail over the debate of ideas, they destroy societies and generate situations like today’s: an assassination attempt,” Economy Minister Sergio Massa tweeted.
Cuando el odio y la violencia se imponen sobre el debate de ideas, destruyen a las sociedades y se generan situaciones como la de hoy: un intento de magnicidio.
Toda mi solidaridad a @CFKArgentina y su familia. Y mi deseo de que se determinen todas las responsabilidades.
— Sergio Massa (@SergioMassa) September 2, 2022
Vice President Fernández de Kirchner has yet to make any comment on the event.