“A concerning trend is emerging in Mar del Plata’s once-tranquil political landscape. Incidents of unprovoked beatings and discriminatory violence are on the rise, largely attributable to groups of right-wing fanatics.
A spate of attacks
The Buenos Aires Herald reports that minority groups are, with increasing regularity, finding themselves the targets of assaults and threats, while swastikas have been daubed on public and private property and memorials to the victims of the last military dictatorship vandalized.
In a recent attack, a teenage homosexual couple were set upon by individuals “wearing Nazi insignia and beaten violently with PVC pipes filled with concrete”. The most recent spate of violence has lead the director general of the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights group, José Luis Zerillo, to file a lawsuit against the office of the attorney general in the city.
Zerillo’s case includes an account from November 2014, when Alexander Levchenco – known in Mar del Plata as ‘El Rusito’, (The Little Russian) – “led a gang of neo-Nazis armed with clubs and knives in an attack against the annual National Women’s Meeting (ENM) in the city”. A young man was also assaulted by members of the National Patriotic Forum (FONAPA), and had a swastika symbol cut into his hand with a razor.
On 14 February, the ‘Nevermind’ bar owned by prominent LGBT activist Javier Moreno, was vandalised by a local far-right group. Moreno is also the president of the Mar del Plata Association for Equal Rights (AMADI) and has had frequent run-ins with the city’s fascist groups – and one man in particular.
Carlos Gustavo Pampillón leads the FONAPA group, one of a number of fascist groups in the city that includes ‘El Giachino’, ‘Black Flag’ and ‘Red Roses’. Educated at the National University of Mar del Plata, Pampillón is a fierce Argentine ultra-nationalist who also proclaims himself to be an anti-communist and “against the digressions of cultural Marxism”.
Although he has rarely appeared before the press, Pampillón uses his social media accounts to attempt to set the record straight in frequent hailstorms of capital letters, denials and definitions. He is regularly photographed performing Nazi salutes and promoting provocative messages in defense of ‘la Patria’.”