The organization dedicated to the search for illegally appropriated children during the last Argentine dictatorship (1976-1983) Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo announced that they found their 131st stolen grandchild, identified as the son of Lucía Angela Nadín and Aldo Hugo Quevedo, two natives from Mendoza who were kidnapped in 1977.
“The marriage was a militant in the PRT – ERP [a left-wing organization],” said the chairwoman of the Grandmothers, Estela de Carlotto, in a press conference. “Between September and October 1977, Lucía, with a two or three-month pregnancy, and Aldo were kidnapped in Buenos Aires City, apparently together with Beatriz [Corsino, the partner of Nicolás Zárate, a friend of the couple]”. According to the information the Grandmothers could gather, “the couple was detained in the clandestine [torture] centers Club Atlético and El Banco. From surviving witnesses, we could find out that Lucía was transported from El Banco to give birth between March and April 1978,” added Carlotto.
“We suspect that the birth could have taken place in the ESMA,” she said. The ESMA, now the Space for Memory and Human Rights, was where the press conference was held. Located in the former Higher School of Mechanics of the Navy (ESMA, its Spanish acronym), which the dictatorship used as a clandestine prison where torture and human rights violations were committed, in 2004 it was repurposed as a site for museums, cultural centers and the headquarters of various human rights organizations.
The Grandmothers, which in Spanish are called Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, started meeting in 1977 to locate an estimated 300 children who were kidnapped during the dictatorship’s repression and then illegally adopted. Among them, there are children who were born to mothers in prison and were later “disappeared” by the military. The Grandmothers work with the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team and the National Bank of Genetic Data (BNDG, its Spanish acronym), which use scientific methods to identify the children.
“We’re happy. It has been almost 4 years since the Abuelas last found a grandchild”, Mariana Herrera Piñero, chairwoman of the BNDG, told the Herald. “Here in the Bank, each [grandchild] restitution is a balm for the soul, and it gives us an enormous enthusiasm to think that there is going to be a hug and a family reunion,” she adds, and highlights the importance of “working scientifically for identity, for truth and justice and for the entire country”.
Also present in the press conference were Grandmothers Sonia Torres and Buscarita Roa, as well as recovered grandchildren Victoria Montenegro, Juan Cabandié, Wado de Pedro, Claudia Poblete, and others. As with each event telling about a “recovered grandchild”, the room was charged with happiness. This time, World Cup euphoria was also present, already in the press release.
“As if the end of the year had devoted itself to making wishes come true, after three years, we celebrate the finding of a new grandchild, the 131st,” the Grandmothers stated on their website. “Again, we confirm that the almost 300 men and women that lived with a forged identity are among us, and we are yet again filled with hope,” they added, referencing both the World Cup win and one of the songs that were sung by millions of Argentine fans.
“Abuelas,” a reversion of yet another World Cup song, was sung over and over while receiving the grandmothers in the Space for Memory and Human Rights. “We are yet again filled with hope, with the World Cup and the grandchild, we won’t stop looking,” the attendees sang.
Carlotto remembered the Grandmothers who died before the “deserved hug” with their grandchildren. “Our grandchildren are already around 45 years old and they are probably men and women with a built life, with their jobs, learnings, loves, tastes, desires, and families. We appeal to the whole of society to join us. Any piece of information or suspicion is enough to come to us. Don’t keep your information with you. Don’t keep your doubts with you. Break the silence. Our grandchildren are among us,” she finished.