In Argentina, Neo-Nazi Party Again May be Denied Accreditation

An Argentine political group that espouses Nazi ideology faces new hurdles in its years-long battle to win accreditation as a legal political party. Two weeks ago, electoral prosecutor Jorge Alvarez Berlanda recommended that the accreditation petition from the New Triumph Party, known by its Spanish acronym PNT, be denied. Berlanda’s recommendation now will go to an electoral judge, who will have the final say on the matter. Started in the early 1990s by Alejandro Biondini, the PNT promoted the swastika, used the stiff-arm Nazi salute, celebrated Hitler’s birthday and espoused a political ideology that resembled that of far-right French leader Jean Marie Le Pen.

After a PNT party leader died under mysterious circumstances, party officials said the leader was a victim of a Jewish “ritual crime.” Since 1997, Biondini’s group has maintained an anti-Semitic Web site that links to Nazi sites and Holocaust-denial sites. Biondini himself makes comrades call him “Fuhrer.” The PNT has been trying to gain political accreditation for years. In 1991, the party argued that the swastika they used was not a Nazi symbol but a solar symbol. Nevertheless, three years later the group faced charges of violating a national anti-discrimination law.

Biondini made some changes in the party, but many organizations, political parties and government officials say the party’s ideology remains unchanged. “They are substantially Nazis and formally Argentine nationalists,” said one Argentine judge who spoke on condition of anonymity. Last July, Biondini presented an official petition for legal accreditation. The PNT did away with the swastika and said the party rejects any form of racism or anti-Semitism. Becoming a legal party would allow the PNT to participate in Buenos Aires municipal elections, eventually leading to participation in national elections, including free on-air TV time to promote the group’s political message.

Prosecutor Berlanda’s March 16 recommendation mentioned several calls from concerned parties to reject the PNT’s petition, including requests by the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, the DAIA — Argentine Jewry’s political umbrella group — several political parties, the National Institute Against Discrimination, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Association of Lawyers of Buenos Aires. The prosecutor said he agreed with the recommendations.

“The material attached show an exaltation of violence, hatred for the national and international Israeli community and the assertion of Adolf Hitler as a leader, frequently using Nazi symbols or similar ones,” the recommendation reads in part. Experts say the group’s support base is small, though some say it has links to the army and the nationalist arm of the Peronist party, associated with the ideals of former Argentine president Juan Peron.