Argentine Activist Finds Missing Grandson 36 Years After the Government Abducted Him

Argentina is celebrating the return of one of their "Disappeared Ones."

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Estella Barnes de Carlotto, the founder an Argentine human rights group dedicated to finding missing children, said Monday that she has located her own grandson who was abducted by government forces over thirty years ago

Carlotto founded The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in 1977 to help locate hundreds of children who were kidnapped during Argentina's "Dirty War," a period of violent government crackdowns against political dissidents during the 1970s. An estimated 30,000 people, including 500 children, were taken during the military dictatorship. The missing became known as "Los Desaparecidos" or "The Disappeared Ones." Many of the children were raised by the same military officials who kidnapped them or even killed their parents.

Carlotto's grandson, who her other daughter Claudia described as "happy and emotional," was identified by the media as 36-year-old Igancio Hurban. His mother, activist Laura Colotto was taken into custody while she was still pregnant and executed with bullets to the head and stomach two months after giving birth. Hurban, now a music teacher outside Buenos Aires, was given to another family, who raised him as their own. 

Carlotta said it is unclear whether or not the family knew that the boy was taken. 

This is a reparation for the Argentinian people, a reparation for him, for our family and also for society... We must keep searching for those missing because other grandmothers have to feel what I feel," Carlotta said.  

In 1976, Argentina's President Isabela Peron was removed by Jorge Rafael Videla, an army general who began a repressive five-year dictatorial rule over the country, which included the targeting, kidnapping and execution of so called "Peronistas."

Carlotto, 83, spoke at a news conference that aired live on Argentine television. 

Thanks to everyone, thanks to God, thanks to life because what I wanted was not to die until hugging him and soon I will be able to hug him."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.