Sunday, 9 October 2011

Argentina: Victoria Montenegro

The online edition of the New York Times yesterday published a detailed article on Victoria Montenegro, a disappeared child (now adult, of course), which discusses very well the complexities and emotional turmoil of such cases.

Brought up by a military father who recounted his involvement in "battles" against "subversives", Montenegro eventually had to learn that he had been involved in the killing of her biological parents and she ultimately testified against him in court.
“I grew up thinking that in Argentina there had been a war, and that our soldiers had gone to war to guarantee the democracy,” she said. “And that there were no disappeared people, that it was all a lie.” [...]
By 2000, Ms. Montenegro still believed her mission was to keep Colonel Tetzlaff out of prison. But she relented and gave a DNA sample. A judge then delivered jarring news: the test confirmed that she was the biological child of Hilda and Roque Montenegro, who had been active in the resistance.
This is a good illustration of why the Grandmothers support compulsory DNA testing, I would say. It's all very well for us to say that adults should have the right to choose; but people who have been indoctrinated their entire lives by people they believe to be their parents cannot very easily just turn around and change that point of view. Obviously, they are likely to see DNA testing as a betrayal of their "parents".
Slowly, she got to know her biological parents’ family.
“This was a process; it wasn’t one moment or one day when you erase everything and begin again,” she said. “You are not a machine that can be reset and restarted.”

Daughter of Argentina's "Dirty War", raised by the man who killed her parents (New York Times)

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