Argentine writer and historian Osvaldo Bayer died Monday at the age of 91, his daughter Ana confirmed on social media. Unfortunately I have to give a sad news, my dad Osvaldo Bayer has died, she wrote on Facebook in Spanish, Italian and German.
Bayer was a journalist, writer, thinker and historian and gained additional notoriety when his historial novel La Patagonia Rebelde (Rebellious Patagonia) became a movie directed by Héctor Olivera in 1974 on a script Bayer himself wrote. It was the story of a Santa Cruz labour uprising in the early 1900s and how it was crushed by Army forces from Buenos Aires. In English it became known as The Avengers of Tragic Patagonia.
An Anarchist and defender of native peoples, Bayer was an emblematic figure of Latin American thinking.
Born in the city of Santa Fe on February 18, 1927, he later moved with his family to Concepción del Uruguay in Entre Ríos, then to Tucumán and finally to Buenos Aires, in the Belgrano district.
A known fan of football team Rosario Central like fellow writer Roberto Fontanarrosa, Bayer was notorious for his coherence defending the causes of the excluded, the exploited and those subdued by powerful groups, as in The Avengers of the Tragic Patagonia.
The film came to be screened throughout the country during the last government of Juan Domingo Perón (1973-1974), but during the one of his wife and successor, María Estela Martínez de Perón, the writer was threatened and persecuted by the Triple A (Alianza Anticomunista Argentina), led by Welfare Minister José López Rega.
Bayer had also written Severino Di Giovanni, the idealist of violence (1970), the life of an Italian anarchist who fought against the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini and was executed by firing squad in the 1930s, during the Argentine dictatorship of José Félix Uriburu.
Most of his books ended up censored, but far from discouragement, he said in a 2016 interview that it gave him additional strength. Plus my wife never reproached me for anything, when I was unemployed she went to work in a fair, she was a great companion, with whom I was married 63 years, Bayer said.
Due to the persecution by the Triple A, in 1975 he had to go into exile in Berlin, from where he returned in 1983, with the restoration of democracy. From Germany Bayer continued to write and denounce the disappearances of people, the tortures and the murders committed by paramilitary groups of the last military dictatorship (1976-1983) and was visited there by the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, whom he supported.
He co-wrote Ventana a Plaza de Mayo and Exilio with his poet friend Juan Gelman.
His only fiction novel was Rainer and Minou (2001), a love story in which he discusses the relationship between a Jewish girl who travels to Germany to recover the history of her ancestors and an official of the German government that carries the stigma of being the son of a Nazi genocide.
After the democratic restoration, Bayer also wrote the essay Rebellion and hope: Debates, discussions and documents (1993), in which he addresses the history of political violence in Argentina and is measured in debates with intellectuals such as Rodolfo Terragno, Álvaro Abós and Ernesto Sábato on considerations about exile.
I would repeat my life, I am not sorry, I always lived humbly and fighting against the system, I suffered jail, exile, long exile and I returned, always with the same struggle, said Bayer.