Father’s Day, nothing for me to celebrate
To my daughter, Raquel Gutiérrez Ruiz, kidnapped on September 1, 2011 in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas.
Hi darling. It is precisely on this day that Father’s Day is being celebrated, which is why I am sharing these words with you from the bottom of my heart. Many days have gone by, almost five years, since you were taken from your family in such a cowardly way. Your mother’s life and mine changed abruptly. Our thoughts and feelings have been stirred by years of war and by the rivers of blood coursing throughout the entire country. The worst thing about this country is that young people are either disappeared or murdered or end up as police officers or hitmen.
With each passing day, you live within me. Your absence chills me to the bone and I find myself shedding tears like a little boy with every single memory of you. Your shadow spreads over every corner in the house and every street I walk on. I see your playful and provocative smile on every wall. You live within your mother’s imaginary womb and I can still hear your first heartbeats, a sign of life despite all the years that have gone by. You live in the rain that embraces me and your tears merge with mine. I hear your cries for help in every shivering lightning.
After your kidnapping, I came to understand the pride with which you spoke of “my father” and it is precisely on this day, Father’s Day, that many families are most likely celebrating amidst an ocean of blood as a result of the war on drugs. On my end, there is nothing to celebrate. What is there to celebrate when you are not here with me, when there is an empty chair at the table?
I recently joined the Caravan for Peace, Life and Justice that traveled through Central America, Mexico and the United States, as I am convinced that the caravan’s struggle is vital to put an end to the war on drugs.
I was able to meet dozens of social justice fighters who also met you through me, telling myself all along that the only battle that is truly lost is that which is abandoned. So with these words, we will keep moving forward with all the energy we have and with all other families, friends and comrades in his struggle to keep that fire of hope burning bright until we find you alive and all those who have been disappeared.
Until I find you, Raquelita.
Your father, Guillermo Gutiérrez Riestra
Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas – June 19, 2016
On Father’s Day, nothing to celebrate