Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Argentina: Grandmothers' president finds her grandson

I am genuinely so pleased that I get to write this post; I think there can hardly have been a happier one since I started blogging.

Estela Carlotto, president of the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, has found her own disappeared grandchild after over 35 years of searching.

Guido Montoya Carlotto, as his parents wanted to call him, is the son of Laura Carlotto and Walmir Oscar Montoya. Laura was abducted in November 1977, when she was two and a half months pregnant, and kept in captivity until she gave birth on 26 June 1978. A few weeks later, she was murdered. Both her remains and those of her partner have been identified.

Guido, or Ignacio Urban as he has been named, came forward himself to the Grandmothers with doubts about his identity which he had apparently had for some time. DNA testing confirmed his true parentage.

For decades, Estela Carlotto has stood at the head of the Grandmothers' group with dignity and determination as they fought for truth and justice. For decades, she has also watched while others were reunited with their relatives. Now it's her turn. That is just truly amazing.
Carlotto said, "I wanted to be able to hug him before I died, and now soon I will be able to do that."
There has been an absolute outpouring of emotion in Argentina and across the world on social media and in the news, and I will try to deal with some of those images separately.

Of course, there is always media attention when a grandchild is found, but it is much greater this time and that will surely make an already delicate situation for those concerned more pressured. Since the grandson's job puts him at least partly in the public sphere - he's a musician - it will be relatively easy to find out more about him and I have to wonder whether his "appropriators" might not be publicly identified soon.

Just to note, since questions about this sometimes arise among readers outside Argentina, the Grandmothers are well-equipped and have access to professional assistance, including psychologists. No one expects Guido to simply shrug off decades of upbringing in a moment. He was not present the press conference; they never are. Nor has he met his famous relative yet; that will have to wait until he is ready. For more on what it's like to find out your parents are not your parents and your real parents were, in fact, murdered by a military dictatorship, see my posts here and here.

But before all the questions and challenges that will have to be faced, let's just take a moment to reflect that truth has prevailed, the struggle was fought and won, and the junta's attempt to wipe people from the face of the earth spectacularly failed. Congratulations Guido, and Estela.

Official statement from the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo
Argentina's campaigning grandmother finds grandson born to death camp mother (Guardian)
Estela de Carlotto encontró a su nieto, Guido, tras 36 años de búsqueda (La Nación)
Al final, Guido también buscó a Estela (Pagina/12)

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