BUENOS AIRES — There were candles, roses and black banners that read “We are all Nisman,” but the crowd that assembled for the prosecutor’s wake, on the night before he was to be buried, was too angry to be solemn.
“Assassin! Assassin!” people chanted as government drivers tried to wedge their tinted-
window sedans through the throng.
Relatives and colleagues of Alberto Nisman, the government prosecutor found dead on Jan. 18, convened at a funeral home in the Nuñez neighborhood of Buenos Aires late Wednesday night to pay their respects. But police blocked the public from entering, so an indignant vigil formed on the street outside.
“We are aching. On a moral level. On a psychological level,” said Maria Julia Farragut, a 42-year-old pastry chef who attended. “Really, we deserve something better than this.”
Nisman’s remains were buried Thursday morning in a Jewish cemetery on the southern outskirts of the city. His death has been the mystery of the Argentine summer.
He was found slumped against the door of his apartment bathroom, a bullet hole in his head and his friend’s .22-caliber handgun by his side, one day before he was to testify before Argentina’s National Congress about his investigation. He had just filed a criminal complaint against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her inner circle for allegedly making secret deals to forgive Iranian officials in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in exchange for increased trade.
The days since have only deepened the mystery. No one has been charged in Nisman’s death. Hundreds of hours of the wiretapped phone calls that Nisman collected have not surfaced.
The case involves spies, information technology experts, security guards who left their posts. Suicide is still a possible cause.
At his funeral, attended by about 200 people, his ex-wife Sandra Arroyo Salgado, a federal judge, read letters from the couple’s two daughters. She said she was convinced Nisman did not commit suicide.
“None of us believe that you were the maker of this end. We are certain that it was the work of another person. We do not know who,” she said, according to the newspaper La Nación.
Leaders of the Jewish community spoke at the funeral, including Waldo Wolff, the vice president of an umbrella group of Jewish organizations, including the one that was bombed in 1994, killing 85 people.
Protesters gathered outside the cemetery with banners and signs in support of Nisman, as they had the night before.
“It’s like we’re anesthetized. Because we can’t believe what’s happening,” Farragut said at the wake. “But with the death of Nisman, there’s a before and after. People are tired of all this.”
When a car approached the wake, the energy surged as mourners realized that Attorney General Alejandra Gils Carbó — cast as a villain in this drama because of her allegiance to Fernández — sat inside. The protesters yelled “Assassin! Coward!” and slammed and kicked her car as police shoved them back. Someone tumbled into a candle display.
Graciela Corrao and Giselle Buenaño watched from the periphery.
“We have to protest the impunity, the injustice, the coverup,” said Corrao, a 56-year-old psychologist. “There have been too many lies. That’s what’s happening in this country. If someone says the truth, no one will believe you.”
The women found Fernández’s behavior throughout this saga particularly riveting. There were the president’s contradictory Internet missives — first calling Nisman’s death suicide, then murder — and the hour-long address to the nation from her wheelchair, as she flipped through papers, drank water, played with her hair.
“She’s self-obsessed,” Corrao said. “She’s not presidential.”