At long last, Estela Carlotto has identified and been acquainted with her grandson.
The founder of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a group dedicated to locating the some 500 children who were either born in captivity or disappeared along with their parents during Argentina’s Dirty War (1976-1983), has been searching for her grandson for thirty-six years, all while watching – and celebrating – as over 100 other grandmothers were reunited with their grandchildren. Last week, the results of a voluntary DNA test confirmed that Ignacio Hurban was born to Carolotto’s daughter, Laura, while she was in captivity in the La Cacha clandestine detention center in the province of Buenos Aires.
As yours truly has written before, children either born in captivity or disappeared along with their parents were often placed with childless families that supported the dictatorship. In addition to the Abuelas‘ efforts to identify these (now adult) children, prosecutors across the country are charging people suspected of stealing babies during the dictatorship. Each discovery of one of these children raises several issues and questions:
►Were the families that raised them complicit in the circumstances of their arrival, or were they innocent third parties? What level of knowledge would be enough for a prosecutor to bring charges?
►Does the grandchild want to be identified? In Carlotto’s case, Ignacio chose to provide his DNA after wondering if he might be one of the grandchildren the Abuelas were working to find, but others in the same situation prefer to retain their privacy.
►What is the scope of the right to an identity; relatedly, what is the scope of the right to the truth?
Thirty years after the dictatorship ended, these and other questions remain. Carlotto will continue fighting on behalf of the Abuelas, saying that “there is still a lot to do.”
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