Crime & Justice

Amid mixed reactions, Argentinians march to condemn attack on Fernández

By Augustus Morel

Buenos Aires, Sep 2 (EFE).- The assassination attempt on Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has generated mixed reactions in Argentinian society as Buenos Aires was disrupted Friday by a massive march expressing united anger against the incident seen as a throwback to the era of coups.

Thousands of Argentinians responded to the call of President Alberto Fernández to mobilize in “defense of democracy and in solidarity with the vice president” after a 35-year-old Brazilian man pointed a gun at Fernández’s face and pulled the trigger twice, although it did not fire.

The word “miracle” was widely repeated throughout the day among the many who showed their support for Fernández, including retired couple Julia Sanz and Carlos Gómez.

“Only a miracle allowed Cristina to be reborn because his intention was to kill her. I realized what had happened when I saw her leave her house. She came out, she approached us, we greeted her and I was able to kiss her hands, something that she would not have experienced if it had not been for a miracle,” Julia told EFE.

Carlos thought that the perpetrator of the attack responded to the irrational hatred towards populist governments that has been fueled for many years. He said there was a need to remove violent attitudes from politics.

“This way of resolving political conflict that certain right-wing or certain conservatisms have always had is something that must be banished forever from the politics of all countries,” he told EFE.

Among the tide of people that covered every inch of Plaza de Mayo was Elea Miranda, a young dance teacher and history student, who says she did not carry any “flag,” although her gray sweater bearing the face of Eva Perón gave her away.

“I found out [about the attack] while I was studying. I had to take a midterm for college and I couldn’t concentrate. When I finished and saw what happened, it was quite shocking,” she said.

“At first it seemed like an act, but when I looked into it well I realized that they wanted to knock her off. It was a miracle, or Néstor (Kirchner, former president and late husband of Fernández) took care of her from above,” Elea added.

“It is necessary to support her – she sets the benchmark in terms of popular support and the first woman elected in a democratic manner, and the greatest leader after Eva Perón.”

For Elea and many other young people, the condemnation of the assassination attempt would have been equally as loud even if it had been against another political party.

To allow the gathering, President Fernández declared Friday as a national holiday.

While people marched in defense of the vice president, she left her apartment in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Recoleta to be transferred to a “safer” place. Even so, she took the time to greet those who came to her home to give her support.

Neighbor Cecilia Irrazabal, a public English translator, went to the house of the former head of state to give company to her family.

“Everything seemed strange to me, because for a leader of this stature it is difficult to understand how she remained so alone and exposed. She was very exposed, very close to people. And maybe it is her style, but she is very susceptible to being attacked,” she said.

For Cecilia, it is necessary for citizens to denounce what happened, although she thought declaring a public holiday for this reason was maybe a bit much.

“Not all of us work as office employees, so this measure is well intentioned, but it does not impress everyone equally,” she concluded. EFE


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