Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Argentina: Grandchild No. 100

I predicted it just a couple of days ago, but I really wasn't expecting to see the Grandmothers announce the finding of grandchildren 100 before Christmas. They have, however, and it's a rather unusual case. Here is a partial translation of the article in Pagina/12:

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo have announced the recuperation of grandchild number one hundred. In this case, the story is different to that of the other grandchildren illegally appropriated during the most recent military dictatorship. Matías is the son of Tulio Valenzuela and Norma Espinosa[pictured], who were both Montoneros militants. Tulio died in 1978 having been surrounded by an ESMA taskforce, and as he was in hiding he had never had the chance to acknowledge his child. Matías always lived with Norma and knew that he was their son, but only now has he been able to cross-check his DNA with those of the family of his father stored in the National Comission for the Right to Identity (Conadi). The results of the test have allowed him to take his father's last name.

"The case of Matías is an atypical one," Estela Carlotto [President of the Grandmothers] told Pagina/12. "He wasn't disappeared, but he has recovered his identity; he is a grandchild whose identity was split in half because his father, Tulio Valenzuela, had met him but never had the chance to give him his name because they abducted him. Norma Espinosa, his mother, told him something of this story and he, well, when he was an adult he began to want to complete his history with his father's surname."

He needed the Grandmothers' help because it was not an easy story, said Carlotto. "It wasn't easy because he didn't have any contact with his father's family, the family didn't believe in the story; many families sometimes shut themselves off from some things which seem alien to them, and the thing was, Tucho (Tulio) had been together with Norma and had this son, and then life went on and he had a child with Raquel Negro - this is how love work, in the end, normal people fall in and out of love." [translation mine]
As well as confirmation of his paternity, the Grandmothers' press release notes that Matias has been able to meet his half-sister, Sabrina Valenzuela, who is the daughter of Tulio and Raquel Negro mentioned in the article. She is found grandchild No. 96. How amazing for the two siblings to find each other after so long and to understand their true histories.

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