Jon Sistiaga is a Spanish journalist who wrote articles for the newspaper El País and who has covered wars for television. He also knows Argentina: he came to make a documentary about the barrabravas. This week a note that he gave to The Wild Project, a YouTube channel, interviewed by Jordi Wild, and gave dramatic testimonies about an experience with the barrabrava of Independiente and the power of one of its leaders, Bebote Álvarez, and about Rafael Di Zeo, currently number 2 of La 12, although he is prohibited from entering the fields.
It tells of an extremely serious episode, in which it exposes the links of the violent with politics and the police, which is exposed in complicity with the bosses of the violent. Something that can be used to understand why several football players are afraid to face them.
This is how he remembered an episode that he did not place in time. “The blows don’t hurt me as much as the way they hit you. It was my penultimate day of recording and we decided to record how a game is experienced from the police side, how they escort the barrabravas, how they encapsulate them when they have I had to go into enemy territory. I got on a bus with the barrabravas, I went with the police on the motorcycles… Upon entering the field of Independiente, who played against Racing, which is opposite… They are two giant fields that they are glued, that you can jump, males. The police say ‘let’s go up, let’s go this way and we’ll cut it’. Damn, over time I’ve gone around: were those policemen in cahoots? They put me in the lion’s den, in the place where the barrabrava of the Independiente was concentrating, they were putting the bars there, adjusting the banners… That’s where I came in with a microphone. They saw us and the head of the barrabrava, a certain Bebote, launched his orcs against us. And when I say orcs it is literal. They were little guys, super fat, They threw like 20 or 30. It seemed to me that it was an army of orcs. I was a little thinner, I ran out, man, and one threw me. I managed to jump. After Bebote punched me in the mouth and nose twice, we managed to get out. It was the scariest moment of my life. I was able to end my life there. One stumble and there were all those orcs kicking you here, and here. a well given kick each one and today I am not with you”.
Clarification: Orc is a definition of a monster from Celtic mythology, humanoids of terrible and bestial appearance.
Sistiaga in Kosovo, in the middle of the war. She had a worse time with the Independiente bar.
Sistiaga’s account continued as follows: “I ran out, I told my partner Hernán ‘let’s go.’to tell him they have caught me by the balls, there were agents and they didn’t care, they launched for us. They’ve got them.”
“This is part of all this shit that is football and its connection to politics and corruption.. I have eaten wars everywhere, things have happened to me. But here in Buenos Aires, man, damn it. I went and reported it, because they had taken a microphone from us for 900 bucks (NDE: a Spanish definition of euro). Why did I do it? Because you work like a guy from Spain who believes in the rule of law”.
“The next day I had the interview with the head of the Boca bar, Rafa Di Zeo, he was god. They had thrown him off the field for several complaints and he could not return to any game. He accepts the interview with his brother and his protective body, all giants, all masses.. Argentina is like this, everyone is very into gymnastics… I park the car, they were there in a cafeteria in Puerto Madero, and I receive a call on my mobile. A guy threatens me, he tells me ‘son of a bitch, withdraw the complaint or we’re going to kill you. I have uncles in the prisons of Spain, I am going to cut you off from the head’. An amazing thing. Are they threatening me? ‘Am I threatening you son of a bitch, I’m telling you I’m going to kill you'”, he added.
“So, I tell the producer what’s going on. He was one of Bebote’s men so he can remove the complaint. ‘Son of a bitch, you hung up on me.’ They call him for the third time and tell him two things: ‘We are going to kill you. your wife and your daughter. We know where you live, you son of a bitch.’ And they give the address that I put in the complaint, that I had put Canal Plus. The police had given them my phone. I told him: ‘I’m sorry but I think you’re insulting me’. The fourth she creaks, told the producer where he lived and where the children went to school. That’s the way it works.”Sistiaga affirmed in the note.
Say Zeo, from the Boca bar.
“How did we solve it? I went into the interview with Rafa Di Zeo and I didn’t do the interview that I would have done. I lowered the interview, yes it was hell, he didn’t crash. And you the phone rings, it was Carlos Stornelli, a well-known guy, Boca’s security chief, who had been a prosecutor. This is the one that Rafa is not allowed to enter. There was a tremendous connection. So I asked Rafa for help. I told him: ‘I’m leaving tomorrow and they hit me. You see me, I’m leaving, these don’t scare me, but my colleagues scare me. I would agree to remove the complaint and have the microphone returned to you.’ Rafa called the Bebote, Rafa’s brother called the security chief of that bar. We went to court, and a lawyer appeared, I said ‘it can’t be’. He appeared, ‘I won’t shake your hand, the judicial secretary, the judge, is waiting for me, I want to leave at once’. He tells me: ‘You have the microphone’, ‘here’. And he gives me an envelope, with five thousand bucks. I don’t even touch. Am I leaving with a bribe? don’t fuck with me It was the host, and we withdrew the complaint. And my partner, who I will not give my name, not only loves me and admires me, he tells me: ‘Nobody would have done this here. What’s more, he would have opened his news with this.
Bebote Alvarez already arrested.
“The bars when they have to kill, they kill. There are several mafia groups with different areas of power, which are not just soccer fields,” Sistiaga closed his testimony.