Photo: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner addresses a crowd Aug. 27, that gathered to support her against false corruption charges. Credit: @CFKArgentina
Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner narrowly survived an assassination attempt Sept. 1, carried out by a fascist gunman outside her personal residence. This act of terrorism was aimed at the entire progressive and working-class movement of Argentina as the country’s rightwing attempts to seize control of the country’s government by any means.
Incredibly, the assassin’s gun jammed when he pulled the trigger just inches away from Fernández de Kirchner’s head. The country’s president declared that the normal work day would be suspended to allow the public to express their rejection of this act of political violence, which he called the most serious situation since the end of the military dictatorship in 1983.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was Argentina’s president from 2007 to 2015. During this time, she allied the country with the broader trend of left-wing Latin American governments that were asserting their independence from the United States and the anti-worker neo-liberal economic model that it had imposed on the region for decades. She is widely hated among the conservative sectors of the country’s elite for her reforms aimed at bettering the lives of the poor and workers. She succeeded her husband Nestor Kirchner, and “Kirchnerism” remains a potent trend in Argentine politics — and one that is despised by the rightwing.
The assassination attempt comes shortly after a politically-motivated criminal prosecution of Fernández de Kirchner, with a prosecutor announcing on Aug. 22, that they were seeking a 12-year prison sentence on false charges of corruption. These types of baseless allegations have been used by the rightwing throughout Latin America in a phenomenon known as “lawfare,” especially going after popular former presidents that they hope to politically sideline. Former Brazilian president Lula da Silva and Rafael Correa of Ecuador were also targets of this tactic.
In response, thousands of Fernández de Kirchner’s supporters rallied outside her personal residence in the country’s capitol Buenos Aires. Last week, Buenos Aires police, controlled by the city’s right-wing mayor, constructed barricades to prevent demonstrators from entering her neighborhood. They then launched a vicious physical attack to disperse those who managed to enter. Clearly, key sectors of the country’s political and security elite have no concern for her safety — in fact, just the opposite.
The would-be assassin is in custody. His fascist ideology is evident: He was a follower of many neo-Nazi social media pages and had a Nazi symbol tattooed on his arm. But it is still unclear how the attack was planned, who the attacker was in communication with and many other details. All those involved in any way with this attempt on Fernández de Kirchner’s life should be brought to justice. Certainly, the country’s right-wing elite have created a political atmosphere of violent anti-left hatred that emboldened the now-apprehended fascist.
The U.S. capitalist class has always viewed Latin America as theirs to control and exploit, just as they seek to control and exploit the people inside the United States. This imperial approach continues to this day, and as one of the largest economies in the region Argentina is key. Workers in the United States should support the people of Argentina as they seek to break free from our common enemy, and condemn any act of political terrorism that seeks to reverse this process.