Argentina’s "Abuelas" recover 129th missing "grandchild"

  1. "Grandmothers" group identifies children who were snatched away, given new identities and handed to new families between 1976 and 1983
  2. Some 500 children were given up for adoption to relatives or associates of the military regime

Argentine human rights organisation Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo announced Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 the finding of “Granddaughter 129” — a child born from a political prisoner and then ‘disappeared’ during the Argentine military dictatorship (1976-1983).

“No one has any idea about the thousands of sleepless nights I spent waiting for this moment,” said father Carlos Alberto Solsona.

His daughter is the 129th granddaughter found by “Abuelas” (“Grandmothers”), a platform dedicated to locating and reuniting parents with children who were ‘assigned’ to military families shortly after their birth. She was found in Spain, and had to travel to Buenos Aires to carry out the analyses that allowed her identity to be restored.

Mother Norma Síntora, Solsona’s wife, was kidnapped on May 21, 1977 when she was in her eighth month of pregnancy. The baby was born in captivity, presumably in a military unit near Buenos Aires, when her father was already in exile. “Now you can meet her and her brothers,” said Estela de Carlotto, president of Abuelas. She is the first granddaughter recovered this year.

Norma Síntora and her husband were members of the People’s Revolutionary Party (PRT), which during the 1970s failed to establish a guerrilla center in the mountains of the northern province of Tucumán. Síntora, who studied electronic engineering, was known as ‘La Morocha’, ‘Raquel’, ‘Marta’ or ‘La Turca’, and married Solsona in 1974. A year later they had their first child, Marcos.

Months before the coup d’état, the PRT and its armed wing were practically destroyed. When the military finally took power, on March 24, 1976, state repression reached an unprecedented ferocity that exceeded the hunt for insurgents or supporters.

The couple decided to leave their son in the care of the maternal grandparents. One year and almost two months after the coup, Síntora was captured by a patrol with a couple she was staying with outside the capital. Nothing else was ever known about them.

It was not long before she gave birth. The baby was taken from her.

Solsona and the families denounced the disappearance before the courts, and Grandmothers took ownership of the case when democracy returned at the end of 1983. Those were years of uncertainty and silence.

In 2012 Grandmothers learned about a young woman who had been registered as their own daughter by a couple. “The documentation showed, among other things, that a forged birth certificate had been signed by a Federal Police physician, and that the delivery had occurred at home,” the platform explained.

In 2013, an “approach team” working with Grandmothers contacted who at that time was considered a presumed “granddaughter”. As she was in Spain, she was invited to take a DNA test. Then the file was passed to a special prosecutor’s unit for cases of children appropriation during the years of state terror. They unsuccessfully tried twice to carry out those tests.

Through a friend, the potential “granddaughter” abandoned her initial reluctance. Two weeks ago, the new granddaughter entered the country and went to court on Wednesday, April 3. There, with the collaboration of the National Commission for the Right to Identity (CONADI)’s multitask team, she agreed to take the tests in the National Bank of Genetic Data (BNDG), which showed that she is Norma Síntora and Carlos Alberto Solsona’s daughter.

Grandmothers asked the media for patience to know the details that still have not been revealed. “These people are already between 39 and 45 years old, let’s help repair the wounds the dictatorship left us.”

Solsona’s main concern now is that his recovered daughter is able “to navigate this shock with the greatest possible calm and in the best conditions to process it”. For him, a new life begins at his 70 years of age.

“She [his daughter] is over 40 years old now and this all fell down on her brutally, but I feel it’s all going to be fantastic.”

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