Argentina VP survives assassination attempt

Gun jammed as it was aimed at Cristina Fernandez Kirshner.

On Sept. 1, Argentina’s current vice-president and former two-term president, Cristina Fernandez Kirshner (CFK), narrowly escaped assassination when a pistol misfired just inches from her head. The assassin had concealed himself in that evening’s supportive crowd, which mass daily outside her residence to defend her. 

CFK, the most popular politician in the country, is targeted with politically motivated corruption charges wrapped in a campaign of outright threats taken from the right-wing lawfare playbook. If the assassination attempt had been successful, who knows what the streets of Buenos Aires would look like today?

According to Pagina12, when supporters of former president Mauricio Macri demonstrate, they come “with mortuary bags or with gallows or guillotines … and signs saying ‘Death to Cristina.’” Offices of Fernandez’s political organization Frente de Todos have been firebombed and shot up.

In Macri’s four-year term, he saddled Argentina with the International Monetary Fund’s largest loan in its history, $46 billion, condemning the people to years of austerity and privatization with an impossible repayment schedule. 

President Alberto Fernandez declared a public holiday on September 2, characterizing the attack as the worst since the end of the military dictatorship in 1983. The U.S.-backed dictatorship and Operation Condor and the threat of political violence returning were on the minds of demonstrators who marched in cities across Argentina, rejecting the attempted killing.

The Buenos Aires Times reported the outpouring in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, massing in the place made internationally famous by the heroic Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, whose demands and tireless campaign for the estimated 30,000 murdered and disappeared youth helped end military rule.

“I’m here today because what happened yesterday cannot be permitted in our society,” Leandro, a 28-year-old doctor, tells the Times. “I feel that something very serious happened. We have not seen political violence in our society for a long time. We said ‘Nunca más’ in ’83. We are saying ‘Nunca más’ to political violence.”

A 32-year-old service worker says he and his friends support the vice-president and her achievements in office. “The years of the Kirchner governments have been the best years of my life. We won many rights: gay marriage, the Gender Identity Law, the Transgender Employment Quota Law,” he explains. “I really hope for a commitment from all sectors of the political arena to protect democracy, and to lessen hate speech.” 

In addition to her current role in the Senate, Vice President Fernandez was president from 2007 to 2015 and is considered the most popular candidate for the 2023 election. Fernandez has stated she believes the outcome of the court case against her was predecided to try to block her future candidacy. If she had been found guilty the prosecutor was calling for a 12-year prison sentence and a ban against her ever running for public office again. Even before the assassination attempt, women’s organizations, especially, mobilized in her support. Among the avalanche of support for Fernandez and condemnation of the attempted assassination were messages from Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken via Twitter.

Just about elections?

Elections are not revolutions that change the economic system. Nonetheless, powerful global forces in these internal electoral campaigns have sharp political divisions, particularly in Latin America.

Next year the notorious Monroe Doctrine will celebrate its bicentennial in the midst of a desperate attempt by the U.S. to maintain the economic and political hegemony enjoyed by its wealthy rulers since the end of World War II.

In 1823, the Monroe Doctrine laid claim to the Americas as integral to the U.S. empire. Attempts at independence have been met by invasions, assassinations, coups, U.S.-backed and trained military dictatorships, and new forms of disruption and intervention in the digital age. 

The U.S. relentless economic, financial, commercial and media war against socialist Cuba – along with the slanderous listing of the country as a state sponsor of terrorism – is a six-decade example. Other current examples include the U.S. appointment of a faux president of Venezuela; sanctions and slander against Nicaragua; coups in Honduras and Bolivia (since reversed); and rants by U.S. elected officials threatening coup and assassination against the new leadership in Colombia.

In June, the Biden administration hosted a sham Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, excluding Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, only to face sharp, direct and well-earned criticism from the president of Argentina, Alberto Fernandez, who also spoke as rotating chair of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) and others. 

Brazil’s national election is this fall and Argentina’s is in 2023. In Brazil, Luiz Inacio (Lula) da Silva, the front-runner presidential candidate, supported the formation of BRICS economic alliance – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – that challenges U.S. international economic hegemony by opening up new trade routes and development partners. Argentina and Iran are now BRICS candidates, too.

As the U.S. imperialism and NATO provoked war in Europe continues, and now, while the U.S. aggressively antagonizes the People’s Republic of China over its Taiwan territory, the White House will certainly not welcome the expansion of BRICS in Latin America.

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