Kirchner escaped unharmed on Thursday after a 35-year-old man of Brazilian descent fired a loaded pistol a few inches (cm) from her head, which did not go off. The gunman’s nationality underlined growing concerns about political violence in highly polarized Brazil in the run-up to the election.
“This violence and this political hatred fueled by some people is a threat to democracy in our region,” Brazil’s leftist leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva tweeted Friday morning in what amounted to a covert attack. on his rival, President Jair Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro, a far-right former army commander, has called on his followers to arm themselves in the run-up to the election or risk being “enslaved”. Critics say his attacks on Lula, who he calls a corrupt communist, contributed to the tense atmosphere.
Bolsonaro, who often campaigns in a bulletproof vest, nearly died in 2018 when he was stabbed on the campaign trail with a knife.
The assassination attempt on Kirchner has prompted Bolsonaro’s campaign staff to consider increasing security when he is on the road, a source told Reuters.
“I’m sorry, it’s a risk everyone takes, I almost died in 2018 and I didn’t see the left worrying about me, but it’s okay,” Bolsonaro told reporters Friday afternoon while in the southern city of Porto. Alegre was. “I hope research is done to see if it was his idea or if someone hired him to do this.”
Lula’s campaign was also concerned about the situation in neighboring Argentina. Paulo Teixeira, one of his campaign managers, said it had been discussed by the team, and a new analysis of Lula’s security situation will be made.
“We will have to take a close look at this increase in political violence in the country, which is being encouraged by the current president,” Teixeira told Reuters. “My gut feeling is that a Brazilian trying to kill the vice president of Argentina is the result of this violence being preached by the current president.”
In July, an official from Lula’s Workers’ Party was killed by a Bolsonaro supporter, and the former president is also campaigning in a bulletproof vest.
Colombia’s leftist president Gustavo Petro said the attack against Kirchner is symptomatic of increasingly tense relations between ideological rivals in the region.
“It has become common in Latin America to think that politics is the physical or judicial elimination of one’s rival,” he said. “That’s pure fascism. Politics should mean freedom.”