'Pain make man think. Thought make man wise. Wisdom make life endurable' : Sakini, in "The Tea House of the August Moon" by John Patrick, (1953)
Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Argentinan grandmother finds son of woman murdered by dictatorship
Estela Carlotto, founder of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, says 36-year-old pianist named Guido is the child stolen by military regime from Laura Carlotto, who was killed after giving birth
The long-missing grandchild of Estela Carlotto, the founder of Argentinian human rights organisation Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, has been found thanks to a DNA test, the Grandmothers have announced. “I didn’t want to die without hugging him,” 83-year-old Carlotto said in a press conference, “and now I will be able to hug him soon.” During Argentina’s last military dictatorship in 1976-83 some 500 newborns were taken from arrested young opponents of the regime and handed over to military families to be raised as their own. The real parents were murdered.
The grandchild identified on Tuesday, named only as Guido by the Grandmothers, is the 114th to be found by the group. Argentinian media identified him as Ignacio Hurban, a pianist and composer who is director of a music school in the city of Olavarria, south-west of Buenos Aires. No details had yet been given of what family raised Guido. “I want to meet him, I want to see if he is like I imagined him,” said Carlotto. “But it is a slow process that won’t be easy for him.”
Guido, now aged 36, was identified after he presented himself voluntarily at the DNA bank that the Grandmothers have set up with the blood samples of all the group’s members. The discovery brought tremendous joy to the Grandmothers, especially because of the fact that the case of their founding member, who has worked so hard in solving the cases of other missing grandchildren, has finally been solved.
“I’m the only one who can speak,” said Kibo Carlotto, Guido’s uncle, on learning that a search of 36 years was over. “The rest of the family have a knot in their throat, it’s an incredible shock.” Guido was born on 26 June 1978 at the Military Hospital in Buenos Aires. His mother, Laura Carlotto, was 23 years old and two months pregnant when she was kidnapped by the military in November 1977 and taken to La Cacha, one of many death camps set up by the regime. Her life was initially spared because she was pregnant but after giving birth to Guido she was murdered.
Although sometimes infants were given in adoption to unsuspecting couples, in most cases they were handed over to military families to be raised according to the “western and Christian values” that the military claimed to defend against the leftwing ideology held by a large segment of 1970s Argentine youth.
Two former dictators were eventually convicted along with others of systematically kidnapping children. Jorge Rafael Videla died in prison in May 2013 while serving a 50-year sentence. Reynaldo Bignone remains in prison.