Great Joy in Argentina as another Grandchild is Found

By Sibila Galvez Sanchez on April 11, 2019 

Photo: Sandra Cartasso

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo have announced that they have found the 129th granddaughter who was born in captivity after her mother was kidnapped during the Argentinean military dictatorship in the 1970’s. Hundreds more remain missing. They made the announcement in the presence of the victim’s father and brother. “We are so happy,” said chairwoman of Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Estela de Carlotto, who called for the intensification of their search, “It’s the right time. Let’s heal the wounds left by the dictatorship. This is the 129th granddaughter. She will be able to meet her father, her brothers.”

Carlos Alberto Solsona, father of the found woman, was sitting beside Mrs. Carlotto and said, “No one knows how many nights I could not sleep, waiting for this moment.” He can now see his daughter after looking for her for 42 years. She had been taken from the arms of her mother, Norma Sintora, a left-wing militant arrested and disappeared during the last civic-military dictatorship.

The Grandmothers found the women, who currently lives in Spain and she did a voluntary DNA test. “Her father is waiting to hug her. We request you respect the family’s times and privacy, Mrs. Carlotto said.

Norma, who was described by Mr. Solsona as a “smart, polite and persistent” woman, was kidnapped on May 21, 1977 together with Isolina Beatriz Rocchi and Ruben Castro, left-wing militants and owners of the house where she was staying. According to a press release by the Grandmothers, Carlos Alberto was abroad when his wife was kidnapped and he was forced to exile. Solsona expected her to escape the dictatorship and meet Carlos in Spain, along with their older son Marcos, as well as their yet unborn baby —who was to be named Pablo or Soledad, depending on the gender. Norma, Isolina and Ruben are still amongst the disappeared. They did not know anything else about the baby born in captivity.

The Grandmothers were able to contact the young woman in June 2017, since a friend convinced her to find out about her origins. That friend, who lives in Argentina, was welcomed by the Grandmothers’ legal team and its Spontaneous Presentation area to dispel doubts and build bridges so she could finally agree to undergo a test. Two weeks ago, the new granddaughter came to Argentina and was summoned by the country’s Justice System on April 3. With the support of the National Committee for the Right to Identity (CONADI), she accepted voluntarily to take a DNA test in the national genetic data bank, resulting in confirmation that she was the daughter of Ms. Sintora and Mr. Solsona.

“I knew it was possible that this might never happen. That is why I activated a self-defense mechanism, to prevent myself from getting exhausted before this time. It was generating some sort of shell that grew bigger every day,” said Mr. Solsona to a mass of people who hugged each other and wept tears of joy. “Something like this makes you live with a heavy burden, which gets heavier with each day.  But we never abandoned our search or our hope,” he added.

In turn, Marcos Solsona, who was also present during the press conference, affirmed that he has, “hoped for a long time” to meet with his sister. “I am really excited and I am also thankful to the Grandmothers and their team, since they have worked hard to help our country be an example in the struggle for human rights and in the building of memory,” he said.

Carlos Alberto’s search started about 40 years ago, when he was still in his thirties. “We’ve gone through several neighborhoods in Buenos Aires together with different friends and colleagues. We would go to any place that appeared to have some information or lead, to talk and ask questions to people,” he recalled, trying to explain in detail the way he imagined what that first encounter with his daughter would be like. “I do not want to create previous images or situations because I am particularly afraid of hurting her. She has made a life. She is in her forties and then this happens to her… My main concern, as well as my children’s, is that she can undergo this shock calmly and in a good condition to digest it. Beyond that, I feel it’s going to be amazing,” he affirmed.

Regarding details of the process, the lawyer who heads the Grandmothers’ legal team Alan Lud stressed that “all departments of the institution took part on this process. It reflects a real collective labor.” He also highlighted the work carried out by the Attorney General’s Unit for coordination of cases involving violations of human rights, headed by Pablo Parenti, federal court number 12, the national genetic data bank, National Committee for the Right to Identity (CONADI), among other institutions. “In order to solve all the remaining cases, to speed up encounters, we have to strengthen those spaces. They need to receive more investment, more legal tools and resources,” he detailed. In this regard, Mr. Parenti stressed that “we are closer and closer to completing a shared labor, carried out silently day by day.”

“This case shows the level of involvement entailed by the crime of identity and the need for the society to help solve this. Carlos’ encounter with his daughter would not have been possible without clues given by members of society; it would not have been a case unless the State committed to search; besides the aid of the friend who led her to clear doubts about what a restitution means,” stressed Mrs. Carlotto. She called for building “the democracy, freedom and sovereignty our children wanted,” adding that, “the Grandmothers are optimistic, joyful and perseverant, but also relentless in the search of making the slogans Memory, Truth and Justice a reality.”

Source: Página 12, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North American bureau