His recent death didn´t affect his immortality, by strength of his skill, goals and humility, he had earned his privileged place in eternity decades ago. He was born in poverty so when any facilities of privilege came across his path he rejected them. For example, La Garganta invited him to the 2014 World Cup. When talking about where would he be staying he said: “A hotel? No way! I stay with you in the favela”
He was an uncontrollable right winger within the field and also outside in the parties. His city of birth couldn´t been other than La Banda, Santiago del Estero. There, he began to forge his soul as a winger and his solidary essence: “Mom, with my legs I will get you out of poverty”. Since he was a kid, he also dreamed of playing a World Cup, he wanted it so hard that he twisted his destiny: in 74 World Cup´he shone as Argentine figure and striker. It wasn´t all: he played a second World Cup and he won it, here forty years ago, between crimes and damages that state terrorism executed to push us to the worst of precipices.
football in particular, as strategic allies to conceive their macabre and demagogic plans. In fact, on March 24, 1976, the military took advantage of a friendly match between Argentina and Poland to lull the minds of the people: everything, except for the match and the communiqués of the Military Junta that had overthrown the government of María Estela Martínez de Perón, was banned from radio and television. The national team won 2 to 1, and the Houseman scored a goal that didn´t help to alleviate the uneasiness in any way: “That same night we learned of the coup and all of us cried”, said René.
In 1977, a year before the start of the World Cup, he returned to his slum in Bajo Belgrano after a tour with the National Team. Sadly, he saw his home turned into rubble: his home, his life and his adolescence had been devastated by the perversity of Osvaldo Cacciatore, the then Mayor of Buenos Aires. That image was kept in the depths of his mind: “The military and its bulldozers ruined my world and that of many people I cared for. They destroyed me. That was the most painful story of my life.”
However, not even the bitterest uprooting made him move away from his neighborhood: “When the dictatorship erased the slum, I took my old lady one block away from where we lived, because there were my neighbors, my friends. We couldn´t and didn´t want to separate ourselves from all that, because just as they didn´t forget me when I was nobody, I didn´t forget them when I had to be René Osvaldo Houseman.” Big brother, beautiful human being, eternal husband and father of Jesica and Diego, never denied his origins or fed his ego. And at each invitation of La Poderosa to make visible an unfulfilled right, he was always there in spite of his hip pain: “I am a villero, and will be until I die.”
On June 25, 1978 he forever became a world champion, although that c never made him happy: “I don´t like to remember the 78 World Cup for what happened in the country.” Days before lifting the trophy and minutes after qualifying to the final of the tournament, after defeating Peru by 6 to 0 in a result as suspicious as quirky, the genocidal Jorge Rafael Videla entered the locker room to greet all the players: “I had heard rumors. Since I knew it, I felt a lot of disgust for shaking hands with Videla. I would prefer to cut my hand off, right now”, he confessed, without euphemism.
In his second and last World Cup he played all matches and scored his only goal Peru. “I swear that we did not know anything at all.” All the members of the National Team keep that version today: “The situation was so hidden, that we didn´t realize what was happening. We lived isolated, to the point that when I discovered the truth, the kidnappings, the disappearances and murders, it hurt a lot.”
Excursionistas and Huracán idol, loved and respected by all the fans, in 1979 he began to notice the misfortune that annihilated the Nation: “We went to France with the National Team and there exiled women shout us: 'Traitors, sons of bitches.' We thought they were French disguised as Argentines, that they were messing with us, we didn´t understand shit”, he recalled as the worst outrage he ever received.
The demonstrations in Europe meant the prologue, Houseman began to understand who Videla was, patron of the most voracious dictatorship. “Months later, I learned that a cousin of my wife, a member of the Communist Party, had disappeared. And, although at first we thought he had gone into exile in Paraguay, we later learned that he had been 15 blocks away from my house, at the ESMA, from where he never came back.”
Almost at the same distance from the School of Mechanics of the Navy, the largest clandestine detention center, is also located the River Plate Stadium. There, to tell the truth, the euphoria for the title ate it all. Or almost everything, because there is no world championship, no prestige, no glory, that can make a villero like Houseman erase the memory and confuse the heart: "If I had known what was happening, I would have resigned the National Team.”
Crazy? Not at all.