Monday, June 5, 2023

ARGENTINA | 07-08-2019 10:14

Vehicle carrying presidential candidate José Luis Espert attacked with rocks

Liberal outsider for the presidency, José Luis Espert, suffers alleged attack en route to television appearance in Buenos Aires.

Presidential candidate José Luis Espert was on Tuesday the target of a violent attack as two unidentified assailants threw rocks at the vehicle he was travelling in.

Espert was travelling en route to the Crónica TV news station in San Telmo at 10pm when two people allegedly yelled at the vehicle and threw rocks at its windows.

The incident occurred at the intersection of Madero and Córdoba avenues in Retiro.

Police are investigating the matter to determine if the attack was politically motivated.

"We were travelling to Crónica TV, to Nancy Pazos' programme. We were travelling along Madero Avenue, near Córdoba avenue, when we heard the impact. There might have been two sounds, near the head of the driver. I was seated in the rear, to the right", Espert told the primetime panel programme Intratables. He was travelling alongside his vice-presidential candidate Luis Rosales.

"I would like to think it was not a political attack. I hope it was just a casual act of vandalism", he added.

"Mr. Espert reported that two people yelled something and then he heard the impact of what they threw against the windows, which prompted the driver to speed up, leaving the assailants behind", according to the witness statement which Perfil accessed.

Buenos Aires City's Security Minister Marcelo D'Alessandro described the incident as "very serious".

"We are investigating", he confirmed. The City Police are "searching all public and private camera footage".

Buenos Aires Deputy Mayor and the national Security Minister Patricia Bullrich had contacted Espert directly, D'Alessandro confirmed, as forensics experts "evaluate whether the windows are bulletproof or armoured, and what was the trajectory of the items" after they hit the vehicle.

Fellow presidential candidate Alberto Fernández on Twitter expressed his "dismay" over the attack, describing it as "an unexplainable act which stains the election campaign".

"The government must ensure our psychical integrity and find those responsible for this attack", he urged.

Espert is an outsider in the presidential race. The staunch liberal, who is a professional economist, has threatened to snatch some sectors of President Mauricio Macri's support base.

Espert and his Despertar coalition reached the campaign stage only after a fierce and highly public spat with the electoral courts, which had ruled to block them from running after one founding member party the UNIR decided to return to Macri's Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change) coalition.

"They realised they couldn't do away with us so easily", Espert told the crowd at his campaign launch in July, in reference to Macri's alleged influence on the courts. "Here we are, on our feet".


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