Friday, March 31, 2017

Brazil neo-Nazi claim challenges myth of nation’s racial harmony

The rise of neo-Nazis in Brazil has challenged a popular myth that racism, at
least the overt variety on display in the US and other western countries, does
not exist in there.
When Brazilian police investigator Paulo César Jardim launched a series of raids on the homes of alleged neo-Nazis in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, he unveiled a bizarre plot.

The country's simmering neo-Nazi movement, with its secret world of swastikas, hate propaganda and street violence, was being recruited by rightwing extremists in Ukraine to fight against pro-Russian rebels in the European country's civil war.

Ukraine's Misanthropic Division, an extreme right group aligned with the Azov Battalion, an ultranationalist paramilitary group aligned with Kiev, was behind the recruitment drive, Mr Jardim, Brazil's foremost neo-Nazi hunter, alleged.

One person was detained along with 47 9mm pistol shells in the December raids. He was later released. Police were still investigating whether any Brazilians had already joined the fighting in Ukraine, he said, declining to elaborate further on the probe. A spokesman for the Azov Battalion - now incorporated into the National Guard - said no Brazilians had fought for it.

"We became aware that someone had come from Europe - an Italian... had come to Brazil to recruit people for Ukraine," Mr Jardim told the FT.

The revelation, if proven, that Brazil's underground ultranationalist movements are seeking combat experience overseas is a worrying development in a phenomenon that has shocked a country that considers itself a racial melting pot.  (more...)


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