Chile once harbored Nazi fugitives and has a history 
of racial discrimination, but its predominantly mixed-
race population makes it an unexpected home for a 
neo-Nazi movement. FRONTLINE/World reporter 
Lygia Navarro examines why some brown-skinned, 
working class kids have bought into Hitlerís ideology.

Chapter One Chapter TwoChapter threeChapter four

The FRONTLINE/World Fellowship program is designed to nurture new voices in international reporting and widen the spectrum of stories available to the public, using this award-winning PBS Web site as a publishing platform for a new generation of journalists. The program was launched as a collaboration between FRONTLINE/World and the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and, since its inception in 2003, has produced 27 stories for the website.

More Fellows Stories to Explore:

China: Green Dreams
A not so model village

Liberia: Give Peace a Chance
A journey home

The Women's Kingdom
In China, how free can a woman be?

Haiti: The Struggle for Water
Searching for water on a troubled island

share your reactions

Santiago, Chile

Good article, I only disagree with the economic view. If you came from the US to see Chile you would probably think that is a quite poor country, so the neo-liberal system hasn't worked. But if you went back 30 years ago, before neo-liberalism was implemented, you would see that poor Chileans didn't even have shoes for their feet. But people have bad memories.

Los Angeles, CA

I was discussing this subject two days ago with my friend who is a 100 year old survivor of Auschwitz. We agreed that it is arbitrary which ethnic groups are in conflict. What is more significant is that history repeats itself when groups in competition for scarce resources seek to gain comparitive advantage by isolating the characteristics of others as the root cause for the competitive condition. This is an error that gets repeated everywhere; every day. The competitive condition is the human condition. Defining the humanity of it are the rules of law or force regulating fair competition.Regarding "major human rights atrocities"- there is a predictable cycle:
emotional reaction/outrage, partial response, exhaustion, forgetfulness and repetition.
The Chilean Nazis represent another power transition challenge. If someone cares enough to oppose them then they will sabotaged, otherwise the world will pretend to be blind until after a major event and then feign outrage. As with the Holocaust (which history now conveniently regards as atrocious) these movements are allowed to grow over time; without opposition. Everyone is thus complicit. Kitty Genovese!

David W
Fort Worth, Texas

The Nazi system is a leftist socialist system. It differs from soviet socialism. In that it is not globalist. The Aryan aspects of Nazism in the 3rd Reich was a German european view. Just because it shows up in Chile does not mean that the members feel aryan. They are Chileans. Nazism as with the soviet international socialism is most certainly adaptable to any race, any nation.
Nazism lost credibility due to WWII and it's outcome. Would Nazism would still be an active world force had WWII not occured? Yes, it would have. There were still Nazi governments after WWII. The Nazi system was actually more readily spread during the 30's than the soviet system. Only the Reich's destruction stopped this. It was even starting to spread into the Mid East. After WWII. Argentina and Spain come to mind. Not Nazi in name. But, in governance. Do our own international socialist consider themselves Russian? No. Oh, and even the USA has a Nazi past. The gray (silver) shirts. Of which some film footage of rallies survive. Or, more recently George Rockwell. The solution to socialist movements is successfully imparting a sense in folks that what they do has value to the community and nation. That they're not just surviving. That they and they're families matter. It's the moral thing to do. Not handouts. Achievment, sense of value and worth. Not this equality of outcome globalist view. But, that an individual matters and can acheive within his local and national society a sense of moving forward in LIFE. Not a cog in some faceless machine. Nor waiting in line for thin soup. That's why the American Dream is so important. In it's unshackled form it dwarfs any form of socialism. Yet we shackle ourselves with Nazi and Soviet socialist tinkering of our society. The Globalist view combined with fascist laws. Only our neo nazi's and soviets wear gay pride ribbons and sandals. Instead of red arm bands and jack boots.

Lorena Haute
Sydney, New South Wales

I accidentally stumbled across your report on Neo-Nazi movements in Chile. I couldn't believe how perfect it was as I am doing a major assignment on Neo-Nazis and using Chile as a case study. It was an interesting report.

Montreal, Qc

Very interesting subject. But I have to admit the only thing that bothered me a little (sorry I know this has nothing to do with the subject) was the voice on the video. Sounded like a high school girl talking...

laura thiel
ashburn, virginia

This topic looked interesting to me because I had never heard of Nazi's in Chile. After watching the videos and learning about this topic further I was blown away! The stories and interviews that Frontline produced on this topic is something that I never would have believed. After watching the videos I am astounded at the mentality and thoughts that these Nazi Chileans had about the Holocaust and Hitler.
Many of these Nazi followers seem like they're very hypocritical by abandoning their own culture which has them as dark skinned and following that of a culture that prided itself on white skin and blue eyes. Many of these followers I feel are very confused with this topic and I feel that is because they were never taught about how detrimental Hitler and his ideologies were in school. This topic needs to become a bigger part of school lessons so that the younger generation can become aware of the falseness of this new Neo-Nazi group in Chile so that they aren't dragged into it.

It is also the governments responsibility to take care of this matter and create harsher punishments on these hate crimes. It is just a crazy thought that people can so easily classify others as dirt and filth without even understanding their personal story. Everyone has a story and that can explain a lot about their current situation, but these Neo-Nazi group members are so messed up in their thoughts that they are actually the filth and the ones that need to take a hard look at themselves.

Santiago, Chile
Everytime overseas reporters come to Chile to make these kind of "stories" they always seem to get the wrong idea....perhaps it's very hard for them to understand our story (as is hard for us) and therefore it's hard for them to absorbe the real feeling about history and these kind of problems. I've got the feeling that somehow they end up seeing what they want to see besides what really is. The neo-nazi movement it's very small and probably one of many tiny movements where people get involved looking for hope. Anyhow, I totally agree that Cesar has got OTHER issues that make him hate Peruvians, punks and homosexuals.

I live in Santiago, and i have a picture of our society, so i can gives you a better idea of this.
Chilean neonazis are a bunch of idiots, a gang, a group of people who believes in some aspects of the goverment of Hitler, mostly in the nationalism crap, but they are just a gang, mostly of them are a violent drinking people who hates the punk movement. They are from a poor sector of the society, they're looking for an identity in the wrong way, certainly they are an ignorant people, who loves Hitler, the beer, the violence, but they don't understand much about nothing, they are just what you seen in the note, idiots.

In USA you have a gang called "White Supremacy" or something like that, a bunch of marginals who believes in the supremacy of the white race, but they are just a gang, here is the same with the difference of the color of the skin.

This country actually don't have any nazi political party, or nazi political representants, they exists in the 40's before the WWII and really we don't worry about this cause they are a gang, in some ways it's hilarious for us to see those people making the nazi salute and everything else, they don't have a political party, and when those people don't respect the law, they pass a time in prison like any other antisocial.

Certainly we had a fascist goverment for 17 years, but the Pinochet's goverment over in 1991, and fascism is gone, this is nothing to worry about.

Don't take much serious this note, certainly the girl are looking how to gain some respect, but in Chile Nazism is not a problem, cause they don't exist in a serious way, they are a bunch of clowns looking for an identity.

jose lillo
santiago, RM-chile

we must remeber the german influence in the chilean army an the chilean society, just compare the uniforms of the chilean officers, that uniforms ar based in the german uniforms of the WWII

just the mapuche people can be nazi because they are the only pure race in chile, i think that they are just a couple of idiot following stupids idiology`s. in case like this i feel sorry to be chilean. chile born from spanish and mapuches how they can think that they can be nazi`s??

PD: sorry for my english

lisa jenkins
red oak, iowa

Hate can become more powerful within societies that suffer from extreme poverty and inequities in all areas of life as a result of the absolute poverty they live. How sad that they feel their only option, to fight the situation they were born into, would be to destroy others. The judgment they render unto their fellow human beings only adds to desperation of the whole nation. I was glad to hear that some like Dannielle had discovered that education paired with love would be the best tools to combat the frustration they live. She has a monumental fight ahead of her; I wish her nothing but success.

Ripper Berg
Los Angeles, Ca

I lived in Providencia in the 1980's. I was never afraid to leave my Condo, 24 hours a day. Any contact with the police, I'd produce my US Passport, get a salute, and something like "have a nice day." We need someone like Pinochet running California. No crime, no burglaries, no car jacking, just people going to work, stoping at a bar on the way home, or the Almac on Friday afternoons. Life there was enviable, then I had to leave. I felt as though I left my soul in Vina/Valpariso at the Higgens Ripper.

FRONTLINE/World's editors respond:
But Californians might not appreciate the illegal detentions, kidnappings, torture and extra-legal executions which Pinochet's regime was known for. A new film, "The Judge and the General," documents a conservative Chilean judge's indictment of General Pinochet for these crimes. The former dictator died before he could be prosecuted in the Chilean courts.

Gary Hild
Hempstead, TX

There is an obvious disconnect with these individuals & history. We can expect this kind of behavior when the accurate teaching of world history including the video archives is not included in the curriculum of each generation. Whenever past history is forgotten & replaced with invented false information it is very difficult to reintroduce the truth & expect it to be believed. Accurate teaching of history almost always guarantees that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated.

AC Masabi
Santa Rosa, California

I'm new to Frontline and have just watched several stories: on Mexico's food vs fuel; on India's missing girls; one or two others; and now this one on Chile's neonazis. My comment centers not on any story or its content, but rather on their delivery by the young journalists. My comment is an attempt to bring up the relevancy of the journalistic standards of the past upon the present.

Once-upon-a-time, sixty, fifty or so years ago, a neutral voice free of inflection and ethnic accent was the hallmark of the successful professional newscaster, of the anchor person, of the journalist. Listening audiences in the US expected, demanded and got accent-and-slant-free news. Inflection or accent in the voice and tone of a newscaster was deemed a distraction as well as an offense, an attempt to influence, to arouse, to persuade, to color. Back then, accent or inflection was not tolerated. Today's teens, for example, speak with inflections and tones that, even when out of sight, mark their years and stage in life. One of the journalists I listened to retained and still spoke with some of those 'teen' inflections. Others accented given words, emphasized certain phrases, thus delivering fact as well as their take on it--in the Mexico story, for example. A distracting and offensive practice.

I would urge our young journalists to tape and listen to their deliveries, and cultivate an accent-and-inflection-free voice. Such allows the news to stand on their own and honors in the listener the right to his own assessment.

FRONTLINE/World's editors respond:
Thank you very much for your comments and welcome to FRONTLINE/World. We began in 2002 as an offshoot of the long-running PBS documentary series, Frontline," which just celebrated it's 25th anniversary. We are both a web site and a TV program, which airs 4-5 times a year on Frontline, Tuesday nights at 9 pm. Our next episode is on May 27th and our final episode of this season airs June 24.

With regard to your advice about our reporters' accents and inflections, we appreciate your viewpoint. And we certainly train and encourage our reporters to write and speak clearly.

We have two mandates at FRONTLINE/World: first, to provide more international news; second, to identify and mentor a new generation of TV and web reporters and producers, as well as diversifying that group.

So, we are far more tolerant -- even encouraging -- of a range of voices and accents in our reports. We also made a decision as a general rule to sub-title rather than have voice-overs for people speaking in a foreign language, so that our viewers can hear people speaking in their own language.

We admit that sometimes this might make our stories somewhat harder to decipher, especially for an American audience. But in general, we have found that our TV viewers and web visitors, at home and abroad, appreciate what we are doing, both the content and style.

Perhaps, more than most of our stories, this student Fellows project on Chile experiments more with delivery and style. It reminded us of the radio program, "The American Life," which is wildly popular for its highly personal, idiosyncratic story telling and narration. But some people, we realize, are put off by that style.

Interestingly, one of the first reviews of FRONTLINE/World compared us, favorably, to a cross between "60 Minutes" and "This American Life." It's a comparison we like.

Bethesda, MD
I'm a Chilean living in the States and it surprised me that Frontline chose this story. It is pretty atypical in Chile to have nazis, and remember that this is a very small minority.

What is curious about this "movement" is that yes they are brown skinned. But more to that these movements are composed from urban working class people. They are extremely nationalists and more than following Hitler's doctrine they are vandals. They use violence in order to intimidate immigrants, homosexuals, and homeless. I cannot understand why these people follow this and I think that it is not so different to the KKK.

And about the race thing they don't think that they are brown-skinned, they think that they are kind of white-ish and that that makes them better that brown-skinned Peruvians or Bolivians (immigrants). Because Peruvians and Bolivians supposedly are going to "steal" their jobs, they take this hostile and nationalistic stance. And who are the symbol of extreme nationalism and disregard to foreigners? The nazis. So race is not much of a factor in this circumstance. It is more about an economic and cultural problem in Chile.

FRONTLINE/World's editors respond:
Thank you for your letter. Yes, we know this is a small, marginal movement in Chile, but we thought it was worth reporting because, however small a movement, it exists, and it's existence raises all sorts of important issues to discuss about race and class.

Washington DC, DC
The narrator's voice is annoying. The story is interesting but get a professional voice over talent.

gloria benado
reno, nevada

As a repatriated Chilean thanks to the wonderful years of Pinochet, this comes as absolutely no surprise. The shame lies in the unwillingness of the Chilean government to address this issue at all.

NYC, New York

Very disturbing to see neo-nazi movement so strong in the Western hemisphere. Potentially more damaging than Al Qeada.

Los Angeles

What is it about human beings that twist the truth to suit their desires? These are the same type of kids that are members of gangs in other parts of the word such as the M.S. in the El Salvador. To some extent it is this same xenophobia that drives recruitment in the US armed forces. This is the awful result of being "young, dumb and full of anger."

But in a country where 70 percent of people are of indigenous percent it doesn't seem logical that this would happen. However it did, which shows the level of pride, indigenous people have in their own culture is close to nonexistent...

But the one thing that makes me rest easier is the ease with which an anti-nazi campaign can and should be organized.

What's an outrage is how in Chile all nazi symbols and paraphernalia are legal. Although many of you stated that it is incredible how someone dark skinned may be nazi, it is that way all over the world, from Spain and Chile to Brasil or USA. The manipulation of stupidity, ignorance and hate are and always will be the reason of this ideology and feelings -- exploited by those opportunist leaders that use these idiots to reach power and fortune. It's all about money, power and hate.

Kailua, Hawaii
Hitler and his followers would have just tossed them onto trains bound for death camps without question. Hitler's warped goal of creating the perfect Aryan race would not have included Chilean kids. May God Save Us All.

Vancouver, BC

Quick comments: First, great work again Frontline! Second, in response to earlier threads, most homeless people in America do not choose to be homeless. And third, while the Nazis may have been socialists in name (National Socialist German Workers Party), they were in fact fascists.

Two points in response to other comments below:

"Do they not look in the mirror and see an ethnic person?"
Actually the answer is: No, they don't. Having lived in Chile for 6 months, I know that a majority of the people don't have dark skin and look very European. Those with dark skin often have ties to the Native inhabitants before the Spanish came and face some racism.

"Do not buy their fruits, do not buy their vegetables, do not buy their Milton Friedman [economics]."

Again I think this statement is downright silly. Most Chileans are not Nazis and all the people I met old enough to know about Pinochet are horrified by the time he was in power (not to mention that the US helped him gain power there in the first place). Educate youself before making statements like these.

Cape Coral, Florida

There is not much you can say about this guy. Maybe he cannot get into the University because he has the intelligence of a banana, not because he is poor. Does he not know that Hitler would have him exterminated for being of an inferior race? Maybe next time we read about him is when he goes to a Klan meeting. All the government has to do in order to stop this movement is give them mirrors.

James Hall
Liberty, NY

Hitler died in the Bunker.It should be remembered the people of Chile lived for 17 years under Gen.Pinochet, a man who had many attributes of Der Fuhrer. In WW2 the Japanese were allies of the Nazis and they certainly were not white.

san francisco, california

Fascinating little story. But let's not forget the big picture. Pinochet is dead and gone. The rightwingers are out of power. The new president, Michelle Bachelet, is a moderate socialist. She was herself a victim of Pinochet's torture, and the Pinochet regime killed her father, who was a general. She is a breath of fresh air for Chile. Frontline/World should do a story about her.

Cincinnati, OH

Hitler did not hate anyone that was not white. There were Indians, Asians, Muslims, and even some North Africans in the Africa Korps. There was a whole division raised from India. Muslims from the Balkans. TIbetan monks. Koreans, a whole slew of other races.

James D
Reno, nv

It seemed interesting, but the narrator's accent became unbearable after a few moments.

Mike Garcia
Chicago, IL

I'm not really sure what globalization, free market economics or privatization have to do with the Neo-Nazis outlined in this piece.

By definition, Nazis were on the radical edges of ultra-socialism with their universal health care, universal education and a unilateral, government run economic model which dictated and controlled the supply of goods and services. A toxic mix of socialist policies that kill invention & inspiration, along with an unhealthy diet of nationalism is what the Nazis promoted and Neo-Nazis promote today.

If anything, opening up free markets - which totally depend on individual rights & freedoms (i.e. privatization), and allowing more globalization for an exporting economy like Chile will only hurt any uber-socialist group like the Neo-Nazis.

I buy Chilean apples and volumes of wonderful Chilean red wine every year. I suggest everyone support the economy of Chile and you'll be helping snuff out radicals and their reasons to promote their brand of fairness (i.e. hate).

San Diego, CA

It's hard for us to understand their point of view. It's not our lives. We were not born in their societies. Even if you're the poorest person in the slums of America, you haven't lived what these people are living. In the United States you pretty much choose to be poor or homeless.

dallas, TX
Economic repression of the masses breeds hatred, the poor look for someone to blame. How history continues to repeat itself.Corruption in government brings this kind of reaction.

Glen Oaks, NY
Frontline is one of the programs I watch on PBS. You always present a controversial subject and go into depth.

I can't believe this. It's so amazing to see how people are quick to grasp a foolish ideology and embrace it. If they only realized that Hitler hated anyone with their skin color and darker.

Chile never disavowed definitively [former dictator] Pinochet. Do not buy their fruits,
do not buy their vegetables, do not buy their Milton Friedman [economics].

Chicago, IL

These groups will only continue to grow, because of the government's refusal to see the threat -- and more importantly, to do anything about the continuing gap between the poor, mostly indigenous and the better well off white societies all throughout Latin America. It's a sad day in society when we see people of any race try to imitate Hitler.

How horrible..,Chilean nazis...that's a oxymoron. Do they not look in the mirror and see an ethnic person? With brown skin and exotic features, they are a far cry from the typical Neo Nazi. They are want to bes. Please figure out a way to help your country instead of hurting it. If Hitler was right in his warped ideology, the Nazi party would still be a driving force today, instead of these sad people living in the faded shadows of Hitler.

Chicago, Chicago

It is not improbable that there would be a neo-nazi movement in Chile, especially given its history. Secondly, most people do not have a wide enough world view to understand the nature and complexity of globalization and the impact it has on local economies. All people, in all countries, who are easily marginalized will continue to be so as a result of globalization, off-shoring, and privatization. Finally, as a society, we need to offer something -- I don't know what -- to those youths who have been steeped in hyper-militarized / hyper-male and hyper-segregated ideologies.

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