April 23, 1976: “El Proceso de Reorganización”

April 23, 1976.

Hola chicos, I have finally found time to write to you all again. Things have changed a whole lot since nine years ago. Two years ago, my mother passed away after a struggle with alcoholism-induced liver failure. Her death, while tragic, had been coming for many years, and I know that there was a part of her that wished for an end to the horrible relationship with my father. But what am I carrying on about—there is so much to be happy for. I love my wife María, with whom I have two beautiful children, and I feel fulfilled with my work as a pediatrician. Nico is married as well, with three children, and our relationship as brothers has only strengthened over the years. I am no longer on speaking terms with Andrés, my best friend at la UBA. He left school to join the Montoneros two years ago, a decision I strongly discouraged him to make. I remember hearing about Aramburu’s execution by the Montoneros—if that isn’t self-destructive behavior, I don’t know what is. They were almost begging for the Ezeiza massacre with those actions. Que horror.

And things are changing fast here in Buenos Aires. Isabelita was finally overthrown last month, replaced by Videla and his junta. I’m sure my father cheered and thanked God for what he would call, “the end of Peronism.” And a month ago, I might have felt similarly. I’m not sure how I feel about it now. The only thing I am sure of is that the public hospital I work at will have its budget cut in half, which will be devastating for the children of Buenos Aires who can’t afford the same healthcare as my own kids. We already have a problem with disease in this filthy city, and 25% less hospital beds will not make things any prettier. I do want this economy to go back on track, we can’t afford to take any more money from our hospitals. What’s the use of a “Reorganized” Argentina full of sick and dying Argentines?

Also, I get nervous thinking about my little sister Cristina. She is 25 now, pursuing a doctorate in anthropology at la UBA. She thinks she is a prime target for the “communist hunters” (the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance or AAA) as her field of study might be seen as “subversive.” At first I found this ridiculous. She explained to me, however, that she has studied and read Marx extensively, which she fears could be grounds for arrest if the political situation deteriorates. Every time I see her, she tells me another horror story about the AAA.  She also tells me about some protest she went to or some Montonero she met, which I find mind-bogglingly stupid. She cannot afford to get involved with the Montoneros, whatever she does. She will almost certainly be arrested if she keeps that behavior up. Que quilombo. These are chaotic times we live in.

All the best,

Manu Pérez

1 thought on “April 23, 1976: “El Proceso de Reorganización”

  1. ssvolk says:

    Hola, Manu – it’s been such a long time, but it’s good to hear from you again. I was sorry to hear about your mother, although, as you say, it was probably for the best. And congratulations on your marriage and your dos chiquitos, macanudo! But I’m worried about your sister. Look, I was as happy as anyone else that the military came in to put an end to this crazy killing, but I’ve also heard that people are just, well, vanishing, and not necessarily because they did anything. I’m hoping that nothing happens to Cristina. Anyway, cuídate, pibe.

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