Sí, bueno—maravilloso—la Argentina won la copa mundial against the Netherlands, but it’s hardly a time to rejoice. The military couldn’t be happier for this opportunity to manipulate the win into a pretty picture of our nation, which it is overzealously, aggressively flaunting to the globe. After two weeks, the government is still using its puppets in charge of the press to mobilize images of fanáticos victoriosos clad in blue and white, seeking to erase realities of extreme cultural censorship—and oppression of in all its forms—in our country under its military rule.
I write today in a state of horror. A week before the final partido of the World Cup, papá discovered that his bodyguard, aptly named Juan, had been assassinated. Papá came home immediately and explained to mama that somehow, he needed to hide himself, that his long-time Peronist position as organizer of laborers had finally condemned him a wanted man. He had no time, though, to prepare himself. He was disappeared from the apartment within hours. Mamá tells me that one of the intervention officers had slapped her across the face when she swore at him, and in a misdirected act of excess, the other had knocked a portrait of our family from the mantelpiece, breaking the frame. I am relieved but confused that mamá—secretary at papá’s union headquarters—was left alone in the apartment, and I fear that it’s only a matter of time. She says that as papá was handcuffed and taken away, he remained calm in a way that has haunted her tremendously these past weeks, as if he was accepting the inevitable, accepting the end. I can’t stand the thought that papá would not have fought against these officers and all that they stand for, and like to think that more tactical motives were stirring behind his passivity. People are saying that captives are released when they demonstrate Christian values, but I have no idea what that means, nor do I trust it. This regime governs with fear sparked by its inconsistency of punishment, not with justice.
In retrospect, I’m surprised that papá remained a free man for as long as he did, over two years… Since the coup—especially these past months—the military has assassinated more higher-ups in the UOM than I can count on both of my hands, and papa is only ranks below the union-wide leaders, as he manages the sector of the unión metalúrgica at the factory out in Quilmes. He is a well-known Peronist, and though his headquarters are in las afueras, he lives very centrally in Capital. I think he got away with it because of what he calls his pacifismo, and for associating himself with fewer extremist workers than most leaders had in the UOM. In fact, he had actively resisted the ERP when they had tried to radically politicize—or indoctrinate with “la locura marxista”—the workers in his branch of the union.
We do not know where he is detained, or whether we can figure out a way to visit him in prison. No one from the government has contacted us about his disappearance, but we have heard vague word that he would have been taken to a detention center and not assassinated, at least for now. I am terrified, disgusted. I know that detention means torture. I wonder whether he is at la ESMA, and whether he could hear from his cell the roars of the crowd from the nearby estadio River Plate last week, and whether he continues to present himself with tranquility. Whether good behavior will get him released, whether torture will inspire a broken spirit or resistance. What torture is. Whether I will see him again. Whether he will see grandchildren, great grandchildren.
For now, dealing with these uncertainties amongst endless others, Maxi and I seek knowledge about papá, and are working long hours on plans to protect mama from his fate.
Hasta pronto (espero),