Argentina Plaza de Mayo activist meets 'stolen grandson'

Estela de Carlotto finds her grandson after 36 years. Estela de Carlotto promised earlier this week to carry on searching for other "stolen children"

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Argentine human rights activist Estela Carlotto has been reunited with her long-lost grandson for the first time since he was snatched by the 1970s military junta.

"Guido Montoya Carlotto was happily able to hug his family," said the rights group Ms Carlotto leads.

Estela de Carlotto said earlier this week that finding her grandson was "reparation" for her and for Argentina.

He came forward for DNA testing because he had doubts about his own identity.

The junta snatched hundreds of babies from their opponents and gave them to sympathisers to bring up.

Estela de Carlotto promised to carry on searching for other "stolen children"

Ms Carlotto's organisation, The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, was formed to reunite biological parents with hundreds of children born in prisons and torture centres.

"Guido Montoya Carlotto was happily able to hug his family, which tirelessly searched for him without stopping for 36 years," the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo rights group said in its statement.

It said that the "intimate" meeting took place on Wednesday afternoon in the city of La Plata near the capital.

'Silent embrace'

Ms Carlotto said earlier this week that she was imagining what it would be like to embrace her grandson.

Ms Carlotto spoke at a news conference surrounded by some of the families who have already been reunited Ms Carlotto spoke at a news conference surrounded by some of the families who have already been reunited

"I don't think there'll be room for words, I think there will be gestures, and hugs, an embrace he will return.

"I did not want to die without hugging him, without getting to know him," the 83-year-old said, talking about the man she refers to as Guido.

He was born to Ms Carlotto's daughter Laura in 1978 while the young history student and political activist was held by the military junta.

The baby, whom Laura had named Guido, was taken from his mother.

Laura was killed in captivity two months later, one of 30,000 left-wing activists murdered during the 1976-1983 military rule.

Guido was raised under the name of Ignacio Hurban and lives in Olavarria, a city 350 kilometres (220 miles) south-west of Buenos Aires.

It is not clear whether the family which raised him knew that he had been stolen from his mother.

The Grandmothers investigated who Guido's father was and contacted his family and asked him to give DNA blood samples to a blood bank established in case the child was ever found.

Estela de Carlotto (left) Estela de Carlotto (left) fought for decades to reunite stolen babies with their biological parents

Local media reported that her son was working as music teacher and musician in Olavarria.

He was located after he went to a national commission that identifies missing people about a month ago after having doubts about his past.

A DNA test had come out 99.9% positive for him being her grandchild, Ms Carlotto said.

"We spoke to him by phone he was very emotional, but he said he was very happy and very well," she said.

Argentina's dictatorship
Jorge Videla at the investiture ceremony of Pope John Paul I on September 03, 1978 in front of St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City Gen Videla (right) seized power in 1976

1976: General Jorge Videla seizes power - thousands of political opponents rounded up and killed

1982: Videla's successor, General Leopoldo Galtieri, orders invasion of British-held Falkland Islands

1983: Civilian rule returns to Argentina, investigations into rights abuses begin

2010: Videla sentenced to life imprisonment for murders during his term in office

2012: Videla sentenced to 50 years for overseeing systematic theft of the babies of political prisoners


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