Frente de Todos presidential candidate Alberto Fernández has been forced onto the defensive, after a controversial video was published by Perfil on Monday showing a violent incident.
The video, which records a so-called 'escrache' (a type of direct protest which involves publicly harassing public figures) protest and its fall-out, shows Fernández confronting a stranger in a restaurant in Puerto Madero on September 7, 2018.
In the video, a man approaches a dining table shared by Fernández and his girlfriend Fabiola Yáñez. The man then yells insults at the politician, saying “Thief, pickpocket, you defend thievery, son of a bitch.”
In the video obtained by Perfil, Fernández then gets up from his chair, walks over and pushes the man, leading with his shoulder. Yáñez then gets up from her chair to restrain him.
According to the presidential candidate's version of events, the man insulted him and claimed he had been hit, an allegation which Fernández denies.
The release of the video raises questions over the former Cabinet chief's version of events. When the incident initially occurred in September, Fernández told Perfil at the time, that that there was no physical exchange, even though the man had tried to start a fight.
The former Cabinet chief claims that the incident was the fault of the man who approached his table. When asked about the video this week, he said: “I already explained what happened. What I said was so true, that when the alleged ‘victim’ was cited by the prosecutor to file charges against me, he did not want to begin any criminal proceedings and did not press charges against me.”
Fernández then alleged that the release of the video was part of a dirty tricks campaign by the government ahead of next month's PASO primary vote, questioning why the video had come to light now, months after the incident had taken place.
“The Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) is circulating the video,” he claimed, alleging that they had access to the recording.
“The rest is the government to which you have lent yourself by writing an unsigned article about it so you could put it on social media,” he added.
“I was sitting there eating. He started to insult me, he followed me and invited me to fight. I got up and approached him and when I got closer he pushed me on the shoulder and fell to the ground screaming ‘He hit me, he hit me, he hit me,'" said Fernández.
“I don’t know what happened. He must be close to the government or a madman on the loose," he added. "I want this man to be imprisoned, well, judged. It was an absolutely violent, incomprehensible and unjustifiable attitude.”