Argentina: Attempted Assassination of Cristina Kirchner and Political Repercussions

On Thursday, September 1, when Vice President Cristina Férnandez de Kirchner arrived at her home, a man identified as Fernando Sabag Montiel pointed a pistol at her head and pulled the trigger. The gun did not fire and Montiel was arrested. The attack shocked the country and was almost universally condemned. The Front of All government called a mobilization in Plaza de Mayo the next day, seeking to use the event to generate the political support it has been losing because of the profound austerity that it has been applying against the working people. Below we share an article of analysis by Guillermo Pacagnini, the MST´s statement and the FIT Unity´s declaration.

March to the Plaza. The Political Use of the Assassination Attempt

By Guillermo Pacagnini

The attack against Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner caused shock and a strong condemnation among workers and the poor. That logical feeling and concern was used by the government to call for a mobilization to Plaza de Mayo on Friday, calling for national unity and social peace, while strong austerity measures are being implemented on those below.

Our party immediately repudiated the attack through statements by our public figures and through a statement issued by the national leadership, demanding a thorough investigation to clarify this grave event. We also condemn the hypocrisy of (opposition coalition) Together for Change and the media campaigns of the entire right wing that enable these and other reactionary actions.

Likewise, we manifested ourselves through a declaration of the FIT Unit in similar terms.

Why we don’t attend

The MST, together with a large part of the left, decided not to attend the march called by the president, the Front of All and endorsed by the official union bureaucracy. Because the move was based on popular anger but with the undisguised strategy of channeling that rejection toward strengthening the government in the midst of applying a tough austerity plan ordered by the IMF.

On the other hand, the failed attack was used to support the thesis of destabilization, democracy in danger and other false statements, usually used by governments in times of acute crisis and when they need to rebuild their social base, appealing to the ghost of the right. But today it is the government itself, through Massa-Rubinstein, with the explicit endorsement of Cristina Kirchner and her sector, who have adopted the right-wing agenda to openly apply the IMF’s recipe.

The majority of the left and militant trade unions agreed to condemn the attack, but not attend the Front of All rally. The exception, once again displaying its extreme opportunism, was the New MAS with Manuela Castañeira, who marched and ended up riding the government’s coattails, but “with their own flags”.

The government decreed a national holiday to facilitate its call in different parts of the country. And although the repudiation of the attack was general and massive, the march was clearly hegemonized by Peronism, with an undeniable partisan and electoral political tint, with the slogan “Cristina for President” being promoted in a central way.

Government officials such as Cabinet Chief Manzur, mayors, governors (including Gildo Insfrán), social leaders, human rights leaders and related trade unionists, with Superminister Massa at the head, were present on the stage. Inside La Rosada government palace, a meeting of business, government, Church and union leaders was held, where the declaration calling for national unity that was later read in the plaza was outlined. A meeting of social pact in form and content, where harmony was appealed to, for unity between those who drew up the agreement with the usurers, those who reap the profits, those who apply the austerity and… those of us who pay the broken dishes of the crisis.

Once again, in moments of crisis, they call for sustaining governability based on the austerity plans. Fostering unity between those of us who suffer it and those who apply it, calling on workers and the people to be in harmony with the capitalist parties and the business entities responsible for inflation, job insecurity and the surrender of the country.

Along with the president of the UIA industrial chamber, businessman Daniel Funes de Rioja, sat the leadership of the trade union federations that did not even mention the tariff increases, the budget cuts in health, education and social plans and the austerity measures of the government. A side note: the CGT bureaucracy, which had been threatening to strike for Monday, forgot the idea, participated in the rally and did not say a word about fighting for salaries.

What is needed, along with continuing to demand a thorough investigation of the attack against Cristina Kirchner, is to mobilize; but not for unity with the bosses and the austerity appliers, but to stop the anti-workers plan of the government and the IMF.

Statement: On the attack on Cristina Kirchner and today’s mobilization

Our party condemns the attack that the country’s vice president suffered last night, as we made public through our public figures as soon as the event took place. We demand that there be a thorough investigation and clarification of what happened. It is evident that the  political environment and tension that exists in our country, as well as the hate speech that is encouraged from sectors of the political and economic powers, enable this kind of act. Hence, we also condemn the hypocrisy of the various public figures of Together for Change who now look the other way as if they had not contributed to this situation that we are living today.

At the same time that we condemn the attack, we do not agree with the political use made of it by President Alberto Fernández, the Front of All and the union bureaucracy related to the government, who now call for a march to Plaza de Mayo, under an appeal for unity and social peace. Seeking in this way to use the attack to strengthen the government’s project, and help the austerity plan that they promote with the IMF to pass. A plan that the union bureaucracy has been allowing to be applied.

From the left, we take this issue with coherence: we condemn the attack, we demand its clarification, we reject the hypocrisy of the right-wing opposition, and we do not participate in a march that, behind the issue of the attack, seeks national unity with those who apply austerity and enforce the agreement with the IMF, just as the government has been doing today through Massa and with the support of the entire Front of All.

Executive Committee of the MST in the FIT Unity

Declaration: The FIT-U repudiates the attack on the vice president

The Left Front Unity repudiates the attack suffered by Cristina Kirchner on Thursday night and demands its immediate clarification.

It is no coincidence that, according to public information, the person who wanted to commit the crime was part of the campaign to stigmatize and criminalize popular struggles and the piquetero movement as part of a media campaign that included the extreme right of Milei -who not coincidentally maintained a notable silence in the face of this attack- to Together for Change and the ruling party itself. This campaign promotes repression against the struggles of the working people and the doubling down of austerity measures.

Our repudiation of this reactionary attack does not imply any political solidarity with a government that is carrying out a profound austerity plan against the working people under the mandate of the International Monetary Fund. We reject the calls for “unity” and “concord” with the business chambers that promote the austerity and the destruction of wages, and with the political parties of the austerity. That is why we have decided not to march today.

The FIT-U will continue defending democratic freedoms against any reactionary or fascistic attack, against the repressive apparatus of the State and supporting each and every struggle against austerity and in defense of wages, housing, public health and public education.

Workers Left Front Unity