Friday, 22 August 2008

Argentina: News

The ESMA building, Argentina's largest clandestine detention centre which was designated as a museum of memory in 2004 (still in development), has now been declared a historical monument. The decree has been signed by President Christina Kirchner.

"In naming the building a Historical Monument, it was taken into account that the ESMA was 'one of the most important centres' of state terrorism, where 'crimes against humanity such as torture, disappearance of persons and appropriation of minors' were committed".
La ESMA fue declarado Monumento Historico (Pagina/12)

Meanwhile the Abuelas (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo) have been having success with their broad range of measures designed to raise awareness of the issue of disappeared children. 'Children' is a little misleading, as the individuals in question are of course still offspring of the disappeared, but are now themselves in their late twenties and early thirties. They were born in captivity as their mother were held and tortured by the military regime. The mothers were then usually murdered and the children adopted by military or complicit families.

The Grandmothers described their theory as "relying on the doubts of the child to continue the search". In other words, their publicity campaigns reach out to the affected generation and ask them to consider their origins. Unanswered questions, for those born between 1976 and 1983 (above all in the latter years of the 1970s) might lead to the suspicion that they could be illegally adopted. On the high tech front, the Grandmothers also work with a bank of genetic material which can be used to perform DNA testing and confirm or deny these inklings.

The number of disappeared children now identified is given in the article as 92, but I don't know if that number includes the newest woman found, the news of which was announced on the Grandmothers website today (here's the website, no direct link unfortunately).

El beneficio de la duda

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