The Argentine Justice detains a third suspect for the attack on Cristina Kirchner

Fernando Sabag Montiel did not act alone when on September 1 he tried to assassinate Cristina Kirchner with two shots to the head. A week ago, justice arrested his girlfriend, Brenda Uliarte. On Monday night another woman, a friend of Uiiarte’s, fell. The cell phone expertise revealed a network of contacts, movements and intelligence work in front of the vice president’s house prior to the failed assassination. Investigators now know that Sabag Montiel and Uliarte looked for the best moment for the attack. On Saturday, August 27, five days before the failed shot, they made an attempt, but aborted it at the last minute. Little by little, the puzzle adds new pieces and no one talks about “a crazy guy on the loose” anymore. It is unclear, however, if it will all end with the trio already in jail.

On Thursday night, September 1, some 300 people crowded in front of Kirchner’s apartment in the Recoleta neighborhood. They thus fulfilled a rite that began on August 22, hours after a prosecutor asked the former president for 12 years in prison for alleged corruption. Kirchnerism took to the streets in defense of the leader of the movement and Recoleta became a center of pilgrimage. The decision of the Government of the city of Buenos Aires, in opposition hands, to fence the corner where Kirchner lives ended in clashes with the police. On the night of the attack, the crowd was back. When the vice president was about to greet her supporters, a hand emerged from behind the crowd, she aimed it at her head and twice triggered a loaded automatic weapon but with no bullets in the chamber. Sabag Montiel tried to escape, but was caught by the public.

The first reaction of the Government was to accuse the opposition and the media of feeding characters like Sabag Montiel, 35, a marginal Brazilian with little to lose who had put into practice what he distilled in groups of internet linked to the extreme right. It soon emerged that the attacker had a girlfriend, a young woman who sold cotton candy at demonstrations. And a membership group led by the owner of the gas cylinder used to turn sugar into cotton. The “gang of the copitos”, as they called themselves, was quick to deny their relationship with the failed assassination on television. There was Brenda Uliarte, clear of suspicion until the justice expert her mobile phone. There she found photos in which she posed with Sabag Montiel with the weapon and messages that gave an account of the previous intelligence work. Also a WhatsApp series with a young woman with the surname Díaz, now detained.

On August 27, Sabag Montiel and Uliarte lamented that the first assassination attempt had failed. The couple talk about the “presence of cameras from C5N,” a news channel, in front of Kirchner’s house, and how they had missed the opportunity. “She [la expresidenta] It’s already up, I don’t think it’ll go out at this time anymore so it’s gone, leave, I’m going there, stay there. Do not bring anything, ”the attacker tells his girlfriend. Before, Sabag Montiel tells his partner that he had been in the footsteps of the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, the Kirchnerist Axel Kicillof: “I touched Kicillof’s back and he got into his Toyota Ethios car.”

Fernando Sabag Montiel and his girlfriend, Brenda Uliarte, pose with the weapon used to attack Cristina Kirchner.
Fernando Sabag Montiel and his girlfriend, Brenda Uliarte, pose with the weapon used to attack Cristina Kirchner. STRINGER (AFP)

All the information on Sabag Montiel’s mobile phone was lost due to the inexperience of the Federal Police, who in an attempt to unlock it erased all its content. The court then transferred responsibility for the expertise to the Airport Security Police. What turned out to be a gold mine was Uliarte’s apparatus. There were found photos of the couple posing with the weapon used in the attack and messages calling for violence. “We have to generate facts, not protests” or “we must not keep bitching, we must take action. Let’s put [una bomba] Molotov in the Casa Rosada” are some of the texts that the couple exchanged. For Justice, the attack was a “planned attack” to “kill Cristina Kirchner” with a “prior agreement between the two.” The third detainee is a close friend of Uliarte and the suspicion is that she was aware of the entire operation.

It remains to be seen now if the rest of the “band of the copitos” had any participation. Its members supported Uliarte after the attack, recommending that he not use his cell phone and opening Facebook accounts to exchange messages safely. The great mystery is whether all these people acted on their own initiative or if some black hand pulled the strings with the intention of generating a major political crisis in Argentina.

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