Pope Francis met on Wednesday with the man known as the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo’s 133rd restored grandchild.
The 46 year-old, whose identity has been kept under wraps by both human rights organizations and the court that handles his case, is the son of Julio Santucho and disappeared activist Cristina Navajas, as well as the grandson of Nélida Navajas, one of the founders of the Grandmothers.
The man recovered his true identity in July, after approaching the Abuelas with doubts about his origins. The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo search for people illegally taken from their parents as newborn babies during Argentina’s last dictatorship (1976-1983) and raised under a false identity.
The Pope met with grandchild 133 and part of his family after his regular Wednesday general audience at Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican.
The man was joined by French nun Genevieve Jeanningros, the niece of Leonie Duquet, one of the two French nuns who was famously kidnapped and disappeared by the dictatorship in 1977.
This is another in a series of meetings the Pope has had with human rights organizations. Francis has previously met the late Association of Mothers of Plaza de Mayo President Hebe de Bonafini, the Abuelas’ president Estela de Carlotto, and Taty Almeida of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo – Founders.
The meeting takes place in the context of a recent backlash of denialism regarding the military dictatorship’s crimes, led by Victoria Villarruel, far-right economist Javier Milei’s vice presidential candidate on La Libertad Avanza’s ticket. Milei was the candidate with the most votes in August’s presidential primaries.
Milei himself has made furious accusations against the head of the Catholic Church, calling him “a Jesuit who promotes communism,” “an evil and reprehensible character” and “the representative of the Devil on Earth” in TV interviews. This recently prompted Buenos Aires priests to hold a mass of redress for the Pope against the radical libertarian candidate.
With information from Télam