The flamethrowers of the Southern Cone: the assassination attempt in Argentina shows the hate campaign suffered by Latin America

If Fernando Sabag Montiel’s pistol had spat a bullet into the head of Cristina Fernandez de KirchnerArgentina today would be a powder keg about to explode. According to the Argentine authorities, the failed assassin’s weapon had five bullets and room for eight, but did not fire because the chamber was empty when the trigger was pulled. Before the gunman of Brazilian origin approached the vice president of the government posing as one of his supporters, the political flamethrowers, media and judicial media in Argentina had been charging each other with hate for some time. This is not a phenomenon exclusive to Argentina. It extends throughout the Southern Cone. While Cristina escaped unharmed from the causality in Buenos Aires, a mob raged outside the university of Santiago de Chile with Simón Boric, brother of President Gabriel Boric, a few days before the referendum on the new Constitution, markedly progressive accent.

The attacks on Kirchner and Boric’s brother are added to other violent acts against political leaders and militants in Latin America. But what happened last night in Buenos Aires is unparalleled. The images of the frustrated assassination are shocking. And it is impossible not to think about the consequences that would have been triggered by the murder, televised live, of the main political figure in Argentina in the last fifteen years.

The political, media and judicial flamethrowers of Argentina have been charging with hate for some time

Argentina has endured an economic crisis for seven years. The last stage of Cristina Kirchner (2007-2015) and the mandate of the right-wing Mauricio Macri were especially hard for millions of Argentines. With the return of Kirchnerism to power at the end of 2019, a small window of hope opened, frustrated after three months by the outbreak of the pandemic. Since then, the country has gone downhill. Inflation has been above 50% for several years and the economy is not taking off. This situation has been taken advantage of by the anti-Peronist opposition to attack the president night and day. Alberto Fernandez and its vice president.

As if the level of political tension was not enough, justice (which always appears on time on the battlefield) brought out its own flamethrower: an accusation of corruption against Cristina. Prosecutor Diego Luciani asks for 12 years in prison for Kirchner and his perpetual disqualification from holding public office. In his televised statement, the prosecutor assures that it is the biggest case of corruption in the history of Argentina. It was surely a lapse since Luciani forgot to mention the years of public and private plunder (not to mention the thousands of murders and forced disappearances) during the civil-military dictatorship. A systematic corruption that lasted for seven years (1976-1983). Several court cases have been opened against Cristina Kirchner in recent years. None of them have prospered. There was during the governments of Nestor Kirchner (died in 2010) and Cristina several high-ranking officials and businessmen linked to Peronism involved in acts of corruption. Some of them are in jail. But there were also episodes of corruption during Macri’s term.

Banished (although not completely, there are the cases of Bolivia and Honduras) the classic coups d’état, the flamethrowers of the Southern Cone have hidden behind the togas. The lawfare It is already an expression commonly used in many Latin American countries to denounce the degree of judicial involutionism. Cristina herself baptized the group of conservative magistrates and prosecutors who harassed her political space as the judiciary party.

Banished the classic coups, the flamethrowers of the Southern Cone have hidden behind the togas

Since prosecutor Luciani launched his accusation against Kirchner ten days ago, the spiral of dialectical violence has been in crescendo. Patricia Bullricha former minister of Macri belonging to the hard wing of the right, asked a few days ago for a more hard hand against the Kirchnerist followers who were demonstrating in support of their leader outside his house, in the stately Buenos Aires neighborhood of Recoleta, where, apart from Cristina, it is difficult to meet a Peronist unless he is a food delivery person.

After the prosecutor’s accusations against Kirchner, there have been demonstrations of support and rejection of the vice president. Last Saturday the police of the city of Buenos Aires -whose mayor is the conservative Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, Macri’s former number two and today one of the main leaders of the right- charged violently against the Kirchnerists gathered around Cristina’s house.

The hegemonic media in Argentina also carry their own flamethrowers. From its pages, its screens and their radio stations spread hoaxes, intoxicate and generate hatred and resentment in public opinion. Hours after the failed attack against Cristina, media voices have been heard assuring that Cristina, deep down, benefits electorally from the tragic episode. For now, the political class has shown solidarity with the vice president and has repudiated the terrorist act. But it may just be a brief respite. The flamethrowers continue to smoke.


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