Federal prosecutor Carlos Rivolo has requested that three suspects in the assassination attempt against Argentina’s Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner be sent to oral and public trial. However, both Kirchner and her lawyers contend that the judicial authorities handling the case are deliberately obscuring who they believe to be the intellectual authors of the attack by focusing only on the material authors.
According to Télam, Rivolo’s 197-page request considers that the investigation against the three suspects — Fernando Sabag Montiel, Brenda Uliarte, and Nicolás Carrizo — is closed but required that the case continues with investigative measures to “prove the existence of other participants and/or intellectual authors.”
Sabag Montiel, Uliarte, and Carrizo are commonly referred to as the “Cotton Candy Gang” because they posed as street vendors of the sweet treat to allegedly spy on the vice president. On September 1 2022 Sabag Montiel attempted to shoot Kirchner at point-blank range outside her Recoleta home. Carrizo and Uliarte were arrested alongside him as accomplices shortly after, accused of planning and executing the attack.
However, Kirchner and her lawyers have consistently asked the courts to investigate the Cotton Candy Gang’s financing and their possible connections to far-right groups like Revolución Federal and political parties.
Such ties have not yet been proven — three judges confirmed charges of incitement to collective violence against four members of the group in a case relating to the assassination attempt. However, they rejected Kirchner’s lawyers’ request to charge them with criminal association on the grounds that the hate speech and events organized by the group were not directly related to the attempt to kill the Vice President.
In a scathing letter published on her website, Kirchner said that Rivolo “considers the investigation closed.”
“As I’ve said, there is no clearer practice for seeking impunity in complex cases than dividing them into little pieces,” Kirchner wrote. “What remains is never investigated again. And [federal court] Comodoro Py has a sad track record in that sense.”
Two days before the assassination attempt, on August 30, at a bar called Casablanca, a Congress deputy allegedly heard fellow representative Gerardo Milman say: “When they kill her I’ll be on my way to the coast.” Earlier this month, Milman’s former secretary Ivana Bohdziewicz gave testimony alleging that the contents of her phone had been wiped clean at what she believed to be Patricia Bullrich’s office.
“The entire investigation has been characterized by avoiding knowing the truth. It’s plagued with witnesses who wiped their phones, evidence that was destroyed without investigating their reasons and motivations,” Kirchner said. “And an evident and desperate attempt to avoid finding the possible participation of third parties, financiers and instigators.”
The title of Kirchner’s letter, “The Judicial Party and the consecration of impunity”, is in line with the ruling coalition’s political discourse that they are facing “lawfare” —persecution through the legal system in connivance with the opposition and friendly media magnates— and that there is a “mafia” within the judiciary. These claims are often raised with regard to Kirchner’s recent corruption conviction and her prospective lifelong ban on public office.
“As I have said, there is and will be no justice for CFK, neither as a suspect nor as a victim,” Kirchner concludes in her letter. “They want me in jail or dead.”
—with information from Télam