In Argentina, neo-Nazi party may be denied accreditation again

buenos aires | An Argentine political group that espouses Nazi ideology faces new hurdles in its years-long battle to win accreditation as a legal political party.

In March, 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 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 it 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.

In 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 TV air 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.