Argentina 1985

Letter to my Disappeared Son

Source: Mauricio Pacheco: Montoneros Silvestres. Buenos Aires, Planeta, 2014;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor 2017;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2013.

Ricardo René Haider, an officer in the Montonero Army, was kidnapped by the military on December 18, 1982, was tortured and murdered, and his body never recovered. Haider had been one of the three survivors of the massacre of revolutionary prisoners at Trelew Prison in August 1972 and had left the country after an amnesty in 1975. He returned to Argentina to carry on the fight against the dictatorship. His mother, Mercedes Cammisi de Haidar, who also lost two other children during those year, wrote this letter to her son in 1985.

Dear Son:

Today, January 15, you celebrate your 41 birthday, and that is why I wanted to write to you, because since your disappearance I don’t know anything about what happened to you, despite what the enemy says I know you're not dead and that you're still alive in my heart, in the hearts of all those who love you, your compañera, your children, your sister and your niece who never knew you but who we will teach to love you like everyone else does.

I want to tell you also that I was sometimes selfish, thinking of my pain as a mother and not thinking that everything you did you did for the thousands of brothers who suffer from social injustice, for those children who have no home and go hungry, so that everyone earns enough to live with dignity.

I once told you that when Jesus drove the merchants from the temple he didn’t do so with good manners, rather with lashes of the whip and kicks, and that your fight is very much like his, I know that the struggle will be long and difficult, but in the end victory will be yours and the sacrifices of thousands of the disappeared and dead will not have been in vain, despite an enemy ready to scratch and claw.

What have they done with you? What are the assassins doing to you? I don’t know, but I continue to believe you are alive and ready to carry on the fight until the final victory.

I embrace you forever,

Your Mother