December 29, 1990
It feels like a century has passed since I last wrote. So much has happened, both good and bad. Today is truly a horrible day in the history of our country. First, though, I need to get down some of my thoughts on the past few years. I was thinking last week as we were celebrating Alma’s tenth birthday how different my life has been than what I expected.
I love my daughter with all of my heart, and she has been my light through all of this trauma and hardship. Rosa and I… well. I think I’ve avoided writing these words for a long time, because I believed so strongly in our love the whole time she was gone. It was the only thing getting me through our absence. But it’s hard being so disconnected from the person you love for so long. We didn’t want to admit it when she came back to Argentina, but we had grown apart in many ways. We have stayed together for Alma, and we still care about each other immensely. But I fear there will always be an insurmountable distance between us. This woman that I loved, that I dreamed about sleeping next to again all of those years.. neither of us are the same people who fell in love all those years ago, and we didn’t have the opportunity to grow and change together, because we spent so many years apart. I think that although she understood on some level that I never could have left Argentina while my parents were still alive, she resented the fact that she had really sacrificed everything to live with Mama, Tata, and me, and I couldn’t make the same sacrifice when she went to the U.S. for the safety of our future child. I don’t think she can really forgive me deep down for not going with her, even though she completely understands why I couldn’t. The military dictatorship forced us to make impossible choices. There were so many true dilemmas, where both options led to hurt.
Both of my parents are dead now, and I’m incredibly grateful that neither of them lived to see this day where justice has been destroyed. A few months after Mama died of cancer (her sickness turned out to be much worse than I had imagined), my Tata killed himself. I don’t think he could bear to live any longer. The release of Nunca Más inspired him to write his story and testify to the atrocities he had experienced, but it was so emotionally draining for him. I saw the toll it took on him, and with Mama gone.. I think he had just undergone too much in his life. I know how much he loved me and how he did everything he could to provide for me. I understand now that he had to do it, and I don’t think it was selfish. With my parents gone, I have tried to pour all of my love and hope into my daughter, and to maintaining my partnership with Rosa. Even if our love is not the same, we are united in our love for our daughter.
This all brings me to today, I guess. I cannot believe Menem. It may finally be time for Rosa, Alma, and I to leave this country for I have lost all hope. Today our president decided that Videla, Viola, Massera, Camps, and Richierri should be allowed to walk the same streets as those whose lives they ruined. Menem spoke of “national reconciliation” and said that “Argentina lived through a dirty war, but the war is over. The pardons will definitively close a sad and black stage of Argentine history.”
How? I do not understand. These are not men I want to reconcile with. I feel that these men being able to walk freely certainly does not close this chapter in our history. I also don’t think it should be closed, at least not this way. We all still have so much more healing left to do, and I feel that these pardons opened up more wounds. When all of these men were jailed five or six years ago, it felt too good to be true. I guess I was right. I have heard that there will be protests tomorrow, and I am glad. But how much energy do any of us have left? Menem also pardoned one of the founders of the Montoneros, it seems in an attempt to make it look like this was balanced, but I know it wasn’t.
I think we have to leave. What is there left for my family in this country? I miss my parents so much, and I’ve stayed in this country because of it. But I think it may finally be time to let go.