As support for the Portuguese far-right party Chega (Enough) grows in Portugal, activists in its official youth organization Chega Juventude (Chega Youth) have become ever more present on social media platforms such as Twitter and Youtube. After several years of flying under the radar, Chega Juventude has finally started gaining attention from the media for the views expressed by its leaders, which are generally more extreme than the party’s leadership. That’s not surprising as Chega Juvetude is filled with serious radicals including white supremacists, fans of former dictator Antonio Salazar, and fascist sympathizers.
Some of Chega Juventude’s radicalism has previously been made public. Portuguese media have reported on the extremists running on its Lista Futuro (Future List), which is made up of young candidates. Chega Juventude member Carlos Tasanis, an ex-activist for the neo-Nazi Nova Ordem Social (NOS) (New Social Order) chapter in Évora formed by prominent neo-Nazi Mario Machado, was nominated to be the party’s candidate for regional councilor for the Zona Sul. Manuel Rezende, Chega Juventude member and the party’s candidate for the regional councilor in the North zone had previously been a member of the white nationalist Escudo Identitário (Identitarian Shield) and the organizer of the May 2019 “Forum Prisma Actual” a conference which brought Olena Semenyaka, a spokeswoman for the political arm of the Ukrainian Azov’s Brigade, which has deep ties to neo-Nazis, to Lisbon.
After these candidates’ extremism was made public, their candidacies were removed by Chega leadership, and party Chairman Andre Ventura claimed that he was “caught by surprise” by these associations. That is unlikely. Ventura and another Chega principal, Rita Matias, follow the accounts of many in Chega Juventude, making it difficult to believe that they are entirely unaware of what their supporters are saying online.
Whereas many of these young Chega supporters complain about being called “racist” or refer to themselves as such in a tongue-and-cheek way to deflect criticism, many of their posts on social media make clear their extreme views. Chega Juventude activists regularly share memes, videos, and other images from racist accounts such as “Racismo Contra Europeus,” (Racism Against Europeans), Perspective Identitária, neo-nazi Machado’s personal Telegram channel, and even the American white supremacist Nick Fuentes’ streams. Others post in favor of autocratic leaders such as Vladimir Putin and Antonio Salazar, post ‘Great Replacement’ and antisemitic content, and share neo-Nazi symbols.
Here’s a deep dive into Chega Juventude’s principals, the potential leaders who could make Chega even more extreme in the future.
Rui Cardoso – Chega Juventude National Spokesperson
Rui Miguel Candeias Cardoso (Party Member Nº 9337) is the national spokesperson of the Chega Juventude organization. Cardoso has a populist view of contemporary Portuguese politics. He argues that, “the common people, the silent majority, the real country,” presumably those who share his values, “feel that the state has forgotten them and that governments ignore them.” But the designation of “the common people” or “the real country” that Cardoso refers to does not appear to include minorities or Portuguese of foreign descent. In 2021, when Chega Juventude leader Rita Matias provoked a controversy over the content of a children’s book used for sexual education, Rui Cardoso took issue not with the content, but with the fact that the couple portrayed in the book were interracial: “As a corollary of all the aberration, of course it had to be an interracial couple, certainly in the name of ‘inclusion;’ and ‘anti-racism.’ Nothing on this page is innocuous. And that’s what’s serious.” In opinion pieces for the Folha Nacional, Cardoso has pushed anti-immigrant ‘Great Replacement’ rhetoric, originally propagated by French author Renaud Camus, that has inspired hate-inspired mass shootings across the world over the past decade. Cardoso once used this rhetoric to condemn Portuguese politicians, “who in recent decades have promoted this migratory avalanche, this demographic suicide, this population replacement?” His comments continued with, “Mohamed, Ching-Chong, and the like who come here are looking for an El Dourado, a reality that is wrongly sold to them by organized networks of human trafficking. They come and leave everything, invest their life savings until they arrive here, in the far reaches of Iberia.”
Francisco Araujo – Leader of Chega Juventude Porto
Francisco Pereira Araujo is an international relations student at the University of Minho, and also a part of the Chega Juventude leadership, regularly taking part in events across the country and speaking at official Chega conferences, and leading the Chega Juventude of Porto. In January 2023, Araujo gave a speech to the party’s national leadership at the 5th party Congress in Santarém in which Boris Kollar (SME Rodina), Tom van Grieken (Vlaams Belang), Geert Wilders (PVV), Jordan Bardella (RN) and other high-ranking members of the European far right were present. Though he often speaks on issues common to the party’s leadership, at other times he takes much more controversial positions. On the question of April 25, for example, a day celebrated in Portugal as heralding the end of the dictatorial Salazar regime, Araujo wrote in the far-right publication inconveniente of the “Marxist subculture” associated with the “the deification of the 25th of April” that “weakens the energy of the self-proclaimed ‘right-wingers.’” When elaborating on this sinister subculture, he complains that the traditional right engages in pro-LGBTQ demonstrations, the parties do not defend “a national identity (the Portuguese) that is being replaced,” and that Portugal should close its border to non-Europeans like Hungary has done. On Twitter, Araujo has let the mask slip a bit further. In a post from this past April 25, he wrote a short rant delving into antisemitic and conspiracist theories of the Carnation revolution including “Masons,” “globalists,” and “financial interests,” all often dog-whistles for Jews, alleged to be controlling contemporary Portuguese society and responsible for the Movimento dos Capitães (Mutiny of the Captains) that brought about the Carnation Revolution. The image that accompanied the rant is a racist portrayal of a person of African descent (presumably Angolan) with a banker and a communist controlling the captain responsible for the revolution. It reads: ”Today, it has been 49 years since: 1) The masons came to have carte blanche in Portugal; 2) we are under the occupation of globalist foreign interests; 3) we were betrayed by soldiers with financial interests: 4) we chose demographic suicide and economic subjugation.” “25th of April – Treason!” In other posts, he has shared visualizations from the race scientist Charles Murray, retweeted Telegram posts from white supremacist accounts such as “Perspectiva Identitária” and “Racismo Contra Portugueses,” and shared posts that celebrate Portugal’s former dictator Salazar as the “best Portuguese ever.” At other times, Francisco has shared content defending American white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes.
João Antunes – President of Chega Juventude of Coimbra
20-year-old João Antunes is a self-described “MAGA” supporter and “Trump loyalist” studying at the University of Coimbra Faculty of Law. He currently holds the position of president of Chega Juventude of Coimbra. Antunes is more clearly aligned with white supremacists, and influenced by American sources, than some others in Chega Juventude. In his twitter banner, he photoshopped a picture of himself into a picture with American white supremacist Nick Fuentes during the violent Stop the Steal protests in Washington DC that followed the 2020 presidential election. Antunes also creates “edgy” memes with Fuentes in them giving Nazi salutes to “Dictator Trump.” He has also appeared on Fuentes’ livestreams. As with Francisco Araujo, Antunes shares content from white supremacist accounts, such as prominent neo-Nazi Mario Machado’s Telegram channel. On Instagram, he posted a picture in front of a mural reading: “You are a fascist and didn’t even know it.” He has posted in favor of the Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and is also a sympathizer of former Portuguese dictator Salazar. He wrote on Salazar’s birthday, “134 years ago, the greatest Portuguese of all time was born. Salazar, like no other, dedicated all of his life to the Nation. He never stole, developed the country like no one had before, and put Portugal first. Simple, honest, hard-working. The criticism is for another day. Long live Salazar.” He has also written that the overthrow by Salazar of the 1st Portuguese Republic on May 28, 1926, had to happen because it “was needed to stabilize and organize the country.” On the issue of the colonies, he has said that he advocated making “Angola our own again.” Antunes is a common thread between members of the PNR (now Ergue-Te) and Chega. At the recent demonstration against Brazilian President Lula de Silva on April 25, he posted a picture with the long-time far right Ergue-Te (Rise Up) party leader José Pinto Coelho captioned “With the legend. Make Portugal Great Again” (for more on the political party “Ergue-Te,” see GPAHE’s recent Extremism Country report on Portugal). On March 23, 2023, he tweeted that José Pinto Coelho, who has previously argued that Portugal’s “suicidal immigration policies” are akin to “an authentic population replacement,” should be a deputy for Chega.
Despite his constant complaints to the contrary, João Antunes has a track record of making racist and antisemitic comments. Antunes has reposted video clips from Fuentes’ livestream in which he screams the N-word for 10 seconds, with the subtext “How about normalizing the use of this word.” On Twitter, Antunes reposted an image created by Fuentes with the title “Who Controls Your Mind? 2023,” in which the board of directors of major media companies presumed to be Jewish was displayed, with the assumption being that Jews control the media, an old antisemitic trope. In another antisemitic post, he has written that “It seems logically obvious that they use this power to benefit ‘their people’ – Israel – and not us, about whom they say this.” Following the release of GPAHE’s country report on Portugal in June, Antunes referred to the report, without providing evidence, as “garbage financed by Soros,” another antisemitic trope commonly deployed by the far right. More recently, on Twitter, he responded to a user that posts exclusively neo-Nazi content, who posted an image of a Nazi Celtic cross and the words “white boy summer,” with “W” (online abbreviation for “Winning”).
As with most of the Portuguese far right, Antunes holds anti–LGBTQ views. Over the summer, he called for “boycotts and counter-protests” against the Evora Pride events, and went so far as to praise the three individuals who committed a hate crime by vandalizing an Evora Pride exposition earlier in the week, referring to them as “heroes” and “good Samaritans.” Since the release of GPAHE’s country report on Portugal, in which Antunes and his praise of Fuentes was mentioned, he has doubled down on his support for Fuentes by replacing his Twitter banner with another picture of him, and added the description “right-wing extremist” to his bio as an apparent badge of honor. He has since removed the title of “President of the Coimbra chapter of the Chega Juventude” from his profile, so it is unclear if he has left the organization. Requests for comment about his current position with Chega Juventude went unanswered.
Joana Pinto Azevedo – Vila Nova de Famalicão leader
Joana Pinto Azevedo is a Chega Juventude member in the Braga district, and an activist for the chapter in Vila Nova de Famalicão. Azevedo is not just any Chega Juventude member, having attended some of the larger Chega-sponsored events, such as those put on by Chega influencer Gonçalo Sousa and Professor Riccardo Marchi (ISCTE-IUL), who often speaks at Chega and other Portuguese far-right events. She is also connected to a number of national Chega elected officials, including Pedro Pinto (Faro), Diogo Velez Mouta Pacheco de Amorim (Porto), Vice-President Pedro Frazão (Santarém), Filipe Melo (Braga), Rita Maria Matias (Lisbon), and even party President André Ventura (Lisbon).
Some of her posts on Twitter indicate the extent of her radicalism. She has quote tweeted with hearts and smiley faces a post by the sock puppet account “Facha Favorita” (Favorite Fascist) that read, “Why commemorate the 25th of April (day of the start of the Carnation Revolution) when you can commemorate the 28th of April (Salazar’s birthday)? Congratulations, uncle Oliveira Salazar! The best Portuguese ever!” She also retweeted a pro-Salazarist post made by Gonçalo Sousa (see below) on Salazar’s birthday.
At other times, Azevedo has retweeted extreme accounts that seem to show support for neo-Nazi movements. Following the Annecy, France, knife attacks by an immigrant, she retweeted two posts from the white supremacist “Racismo Contra Europeus” account on Twitter, the first blaming multiculturalism for the attack, and incorrectly labeling the Annecy attacker as a Muslim to fit her preferred narrative, and the second featuring a neo-Nazi group holding a large iron cross, characterized as “patriots,“ protesting the attacks. In another post, she retweeted a racist video from neo-Nazi Mario Machado’s Telegram channel which pictures a bus with a white Portuguese girl and a group of people of color, with the subtext “A poor young Portuguese girl is discovering the advantages of multiculturalism.” Following the defacing of the Padrão Dos Descobrimentos (Pattern Of Discoveries) monument, dedicated to the explorers and conquerors of the Portuguese maritime empire, she retweeted an image from far right PNR (Ergue-Te) activist Vitor Manuel Ramalho that included the monument with the nazi Sonnenrad (black sun) symbol in the background.
Vitor Manuel Ramalho: “Portugal forever!”
Image: “We don’t regret, we don’t apologize, we don’t justify ourselves”
Beyond this, Azevedo holds the same anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim beliefs that many other Chega party members do. She has retweeted nativist posts from Gonçalo Sousa stating that “Portugal is not for Ramadan, The state may be secular, but the nation will always be Christian” and posted videos of a bus passing by a Muslim gathering, stating that she would not “get off at this stop.” Regardless of her own statements, Azevedo mocks the idea that she is a “racist, xenophobe, homophobe,” despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Gonçalo Sousa – The Chega Juventude Influencer
T-Shirt Text: “There are only 2 genders”
While not technically a member of Chega Juventude, 23-year-old graduate of Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas da Universidade de Lisboa (ISCSP) and Youtuber Gonçalo Jorge Cotrim de Sousa (Party Member Nº 9198) who goes by the name Macho Tóxico (Toxic Male) online, forms an important part of the Chega Juventude network. Through his channel on Youtube, which he has run for four years, he regularly reaches thousands of viewers in Portugal and provides a pseudo-intellectual veneer to the political agenda of Chega. He is viewed in these circles as a party “influencer” and he frequently attends Chega events where he is close to youth members, and has met several of the national party leadership. He is frequently invited to Chega Juventude events as a speaker where he presents on a number of different issues. He also writes on occasion for the party newsletter, Folha Nacional. On August 27, 2022, he gave a presentation at Chega Juventude’s summer academy entitled “Portugal vs. EU: Domination or Sovereignty.” In 2021, he accepted the party’s nomination to run for vice president of the Oeiras City Council, and according to his LinkedIn profile, he currently works in the party’s “Political Studies Office.”
Under the slogan “cultivem-se” (cultivate yourselves), on his Youtube channels (both of which are monetized and run ads from large companies such as TAP airlines), Sousa gives regular far-right spin on Portuguese politics, advocates for Chega, engages in debates with other far-right youth, broadcasts conference speeches and debates such as from LibertyCon Europe, and touches on other topics of interest to the far right. Among the interviewees he has invited on his growing platform are Ergue-Te (Partido Nacional Renovator) party leader José Pinto Coelho, infamous Portuguese neo-Nazi Mário Machado, and prominent Chega officials including Marcus Santos (a Chega leader in Porto), Chega MP Bruno Nunes, and Chega candidate for Oeiras city council Rui Teixara. He has a flair for devising provocative video titles such as “Europe is white, Africa is black,” “women should not vote,” “let’s castrate pedophiles,” and “the PIDE [reference to the secret police under the Salazar regime] has returned.” Some videos are more tongue-and-cheek, like “It is the fault of the whites” and “I’m going to change my sex.” His Twitter posts are no different; he has tweeted images making ahistorical arguments comparing the LGBTQ movement with the Nazis.
Gonçalo Sousa: “Differences? I don’t see any”
Former Portuguese dictator Salazar, and his Estado Novo (New State) regime (for more on the Estado Novo, see GPAHE’s Country Report for Portugal), is a recurring theme in Sousa’s content. In his speeches, he engages in historical revisionism, and subtly signals his support for the dictator by making historically-dubious claims about the economic success of the regime, using Salazarist quotes, downplaying the atrocities perpetrated by the Salazar’s regime by comparing it to even worse regimes in Germany and Italy, and playing semantic games, such as insisting the regime was not “fascist,” to downplay its dictatorial nature. He also regularly uses the perceived problems of the current Portuguese Republic to justify why Salazar was “a great statesman.” He gave a speech at an official Chega event entitled “the Victory of Salazar” alongside a cast of other speakers such as Professor Riccardo Marchi (ISCTE-IUL). At the “Academia Política,” he gave a speech on “Salazar and the 1st Republic.”
His praise of Salazar is expressed elsewhere. In 2022, Sousa posted a video for the anniversary of the Carnation Revolution entitled “Viva Salazar – Feliz 25 De Abril” (Long Live Salazar – Happy 25th of April) in which he characterized the current Portuguese republic as being undemocratic because of pandemic health measures and the “hate for Salazarism.” In the video, “Salazar and André Ventura,” Sousa defends Ventura’s usage of the Salazarian motto “Deus, Pátria E Família” (God, Country, and Family) for the reason that Salazar was not a “totalitarian” autocrat, and many other countries, such as the United States, also have Christian mottos. He has also streamed old Salazarist propaganda films on Youtube from the early days of the Estado Novo. On Salazar’s birthday, Sousa posted a long tweet in which he stated that “regardless of the anti-democratic nature that characterized him,” Salazar was “one of the best statesmen Portugal has ever had” who had “sympathy from the elites and support from the masses.” After being described as a “Salazarist” by the magazine Sábado, Sousa doubled down on his support for the dictator by stating that “Salazar, when compared to some anti-democratic statesmen of the 3rd Republic, was effectively the BEST we ever had.” On the question of Portuguese colonialism under Salazar, which was violent and brutal, he wrote that “I will never apologize for the Colonial Process. I say ‘You’re welcome’ for the thanks they owe us, since many of the former colonies, in chronological comparison, were more developed at the time than they are now.”
On March 3, 2023, he spread a completely falsified image on Twitter and other social networks of a councilor of the municipality of Lisbon for the Bloco de Esquerda’s (Left Block), Beatriz Gomes Dias, with a statement she never made: “The Portuguese becoming a minority in the future is good, they will finally understand what we racialized people feel, says Beatriz Dias.” Responding to the fake statement, he said, “The councilwoman from the Bloco de Esquerda has again made controversial statements regarding her support for population replacement policies, of which she has been a fervent supporter. If Beatriz Dias wants so much to live in a country where the Portuguese are a minority, she can always leave Portugal. Zimbabwe is waiting for you.”
More recently, Sousa responded to the Nottingham attack of an “African migrant” by saying that the victim would not have died if there “had been discrimination” against these immigrant groups in the UK. When a follower pointed out that the attacker had, in fact, been Portuguese by nationality, Sousa responded by stating that “the ‘immigrant’ was a Guyanese that had a Portuguese passport because Portuguese citizenship is being sold to the Third World. He is not Portuguese.”
Caetana de Alós – Member of the Chega Juventude National Council
Caetana Rafaela Pettermann de Alós (Party Member Nº 32005) is a Spanish and Portuguese member of Chega Juventude who is an activist on behalf of both Spain’s radical right party Vox, as well as Chega in Portugal. While studying at a university in Madrid, she was nominated to be on the list of national councilors for Chega. Influenced by Spanish far-right currents, she views contemporary immigration as nothing less than an “invasion.” In an op-ed for the Folha Nacional, she writes on the “similarities between the formation of Al-Andaluz (the Iberian state ruled by the Moors) and the new invasion of North Africans.”
“In the year 711, Muslims entered the Iberian Peninsula and quickly conquered the lands of present-day Spain and Portugal. His objective was clear: to expand his religion, through “holy war”, a fundamental Islamic precept to join the “virgins” in heaven. Today, no one can deny that the illegal invasion by the North Africans does not have, roughly speaking, the same objective…”
“…Currently, the position of women is completely different. In the Iberian Peninsula, women have an emancipated role in society, being present in the discussion of all public matters. However, in the Islamic religion, women continue to be subjugated to the role of wife and mother. The threat to our women is extremely great, as has been seen lately, with the serial rapes by these immigrants or even the forced marriages that still take place.”
It would seem that in Caetana’s eyes, immigrants from North Africa are by their very nature “invading outsiders” who “commit crimes, steal, kill or rape,” prepared to take away the rights of Portuguese women.