Last Days of the Victim

Real-life shooting imitates fiction in Argentina
January 26, 2015 Updated: January 26, 2015

In 1982 the talented Argentine director Adolfo Aristarain premiered “Last Days of the Victim,” a feature film based on the novel of the same name written by José Pablo Feinmann. The film tells the story of Raul Mendizabal, a polite and good-mannered hit man who kills his victims with cold-blooded precision.

One of his victims is Carlos Ravenna, a businessman implicated in a fraud that also involves high-ranking individuals. The day before his deposition in court, when he was going to name names, the hit man manages to get into his apartment.

Mendizabal drags him into a water-filled bathtub, and wearing examination gloves, he pulls the trigger of Ravenna’s own gun, shooting him in the side of his head, making it look like suicide. The hit man puts the gun in the now dead businessman’s hand and drops both into the bloody water.

Seeking his way out, the killer manages to lock the door from the outside, making it look as if it was locked from the inside.

Sound familiar?

Not every prosecutor that is found dead makes it to the front page. But Dr. Alberto Nisman was not a regular prosecutor. The week before his death on Jan. 18, he made the news not only in Argentina but also in Europe and in the United States, announcing that he was about to bring to justice Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, members of her administration, and agents of the Argentine Intelligence Service.

Nisman was found dead in the apartment that he owned in Puerto Madero, one of the trendiest neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. Early that morning his detail (Nisman had received several death threats after he made it to the news) couldn’t open the door and called his mother for a key.

They found him dead in the bathroom with a gunshot to his head. A .22-caliber revolver was also found at the scene. Nisman had been scheduled to appear the following day at the Argentine National Congress. He had been summoned to show the evidence he claimed he had. He never had that chance.

So far it’s unclear if the gunshot was caused by another person or self-inflicted.

Needless to say, newspapers show that the average citizen thinks that Nisman was killed, while the Argentine government, its entourage, and its supporters run for cover, claiming that it was suicide.

“Last Days of the Victim,” the novel on which the movie was based, was published in Argentina in 1978 by José Pablo Feinmann.

To add a paradox to this horrible coincidence—this monstrous overlapping of reality and fiction—Feinmann has been one of the most outspoken intellectual and political supporters of the divisive Fernandez de Kirchner and her embattled administration.

I wonder what hypothesis Feinmann is going to support in this case: murder or suicide?

Enrique Ahumada is an American-Argentine creative strategist and storyteller. He currently lives in New York.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.