Brazil worries about an invasion of Argentine Barrabravas, as Barrabravas, groups of violent Argentine football fans (the European hooligans are softies in comparison), are preparing to visit Brazil during the World Cup. The planning of their trip to Brazil is very detailed, establishing contacts with the leaders of the football fans in Rio Grande do Sul, as the idea is to make Porto Alegre their headquarters. Concerned, the governments of Brazil and Argentina signed a cooperation agreement to try to control these football fans.
The planning of the Barrabravas even provides what to do with those who didn’t obtain an entry ticket for the match. They would be outside the stadium, doing what Argentines call “el aguante”, a term used to define the fanatical and passionate support of a crowd for its team.
At the end of the month of March, a delegation of ten Argentine fans will travel to Porto Alegre to meet with local contacts, among them José Hierro Martins , the Guarda Popular of football club International, to prepare the arrival of the organized Argentines in the state capital, from where they will depart for the rest of the country. The group is organising the financing of the trip since 2011.
The Argentine football team is in Group F of the World Cup and will play in Rio de Janeiro on June 15, against Bosnia, in Belo Horizonte on June 21, against Iran, and on the 25th in Porto Alegre, against Nigeria.
Various estimates indicate that around 650 Barrabravas of 38 Argentine football clubs will travel to Brazil in ten buses, an increase of 150% in comparison with the quota to South Africa in 2010. All are member of Torcidas Unidas Argentinas, an entity known by its acronym HUA, and which presents itself as a NGO to promote the “football culture”.
In 2010, Barrabravas relied on strong leadership, which served as interlocutors with several members of the government of President Cristina Kirchner, which financed them. Currently, they do not have a single command and receive economic support from both allies of the Casa Rosada (Presidential Palace) and the opposition.
Sports analysts questioned by the daily newspaper Estado do São Paulo contend that in recent years this scenario of “atomization” of leadership and linkages complicated the control by the security forces of the violence by the Barrabravas. However, the Argentine authorities promise to oversee these violent groups traveling to Brazil. Critics ridicule this promise, stating that the Kirchner government can’t even control them within their own country.
The municipality of Quilmes, in Greater Buenos Aires, last was week the scene of clashes between Barrabravas. Fans of Quilmes, famous for their violence, beat rivals of All Boys with shovels, and delivered thrusts. According to Fernando Pérez, representative of the political party União Cívica Radical (UCR), “The World Cup accelerates disputes because the Barrabravas are desperate to fund their trips to Brazil”. Estimates of tourism agencies indicate that, in total, some 15,000 Argentines will travel to Brazil to accompany the World Cup.
Deaths and Business
Since the first violence carried out by Argentine Barrabravas resulting in death in 1924 until last year 230 people were killed and thousands injured in violent clashes. The fights, which until the 80s were restricted to punches and kicks, changed the last 30 years into the use of firearms. In these 90 years the Argentine courts customarily has been neglected, since only a little more than three dozen people have been convicted for these deaths between 1924 and 2013.
Unlike in other countries, where many football fan leaders are linked to violent extremist groups, as neo-Nazis and skinheads, in Argentina the Barrabravas have strong political and economic ties with ministers, senators, congressmen, governors, mayors and councilmen, for whom they work, organizing rallies during elections and acting as security guards.