Mário Machado

Mário Machado on way home from Ukraine

‘Neonazi’s mission accomplished

Extreme-right wing nationalist Mário Machado is on his way home from Ukraine, less than a week after setting out amid a welter of controversy.

According to his lawyer José Manuel Castro, his mission – which has suddenly gone from taking money and arms, to delivering food – has been accomplished.

For all the bluster and column inches this cameo has generated over the last few days, a redefinition of the word ‘neo-nazi’ – constantly bandied about in relation to Mário Machado – could be needed.

Neo-nazism, according to Wikipedia, is a post–World War II militant, social, and political ideology that seeks to revive and reinstate Nazism. Neo-Nazis “employ their ideology to promote hatred and white supremacy, attack racial and ethnic minorities , and in some cases to create a fascist state”.

On that basis, a neo-nazi would be more aligned with Vladimir Putin than Volodymyr Zelensky – a Jew who simply wants the West to help him save his home country from Russia’s own brand of fascism.

However the Portuguese media wishes to brand Mário Machado, he is returning to Portugal, in the exact same way as hundreds of other volunteers have done and are continuing to do.

The group that went with him may not be (lawyer Castro said he couldn’t say: they may indeed have gone on to integrate within the thousands of foreign fighters in the International Legion for Territorial Defense of Ukraine) but that is their choice – and arguably they are fighting on and for the right side).

Do people judge or even count tattoos when cruise missiles are headed their way; or will they simply welcome anyone helping them try to survive?

Whatever the answer, Mário Machado is on his way home – and as such Expresso explains he will have to return to twice-monthly ‘presencial reporting to police’ as he remains on remand for ‘inciting hatred over social media’ (a charge a number of news sources have said will almost certainly be thrown out when/ if it ever gets to court).

Since this story went online, the military ambassador for Ukraine in France, Sergii Malyk has told Lusa that the International Legion does not accept fighters with criminal records. His actual words were: “We want to stop the infiltration of criminal untrustworthy elements in Ukraine and in its Armed Forces”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com