Argentina’s former president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, is a fierce political figure who does not retreat from a fight. And now, in the final days leading up to Oct. 22 midterm elections in which she is running for a Senate seat, she has found a new and unexpected weapon, building her case for victory on the strength of a mystery that has captured the country’s attention.
On Aug. 1, a bearded tattoo artist and political activist disappeared without a trace in the southern Patagonia region. The 28-year-old, Santiago Maldonado, had joined a protest by Mapuches, an indigenous people, when someone threw stones at police. The police raided the camp and in the mayhem, somehow Maldonado vanished.
Some say they saw police take him away; others say he fled into the river even though he didn’t know how to swim.