Name, disappeared (updated)

The Guardian reports: Hilario Bacca was one of hundreds abducted as a baby after his parents were killed during the 1976-1983 dictatorship.

Some 500 children are believed to have been born under such circumstances and then handed over to military-approved families to be raised with the “western and Christian values” the military claimed to defend. More than 100 have been “recovered” so far by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, a human rights group set up in 1977 to locate such children. […] “These kind of abductions will never happen again anywhere in the world because women like us will rise against it, like a lioness to defend her cubs,” said Estela Carlotto, president of the Grandmothers. […]

But in recent years, as the missing grandchildren became grown men and women who frequently refused to deal with their past, a special law allowing compulsory DNA testing has become an essential tool in the task.

For Bacca, the knock on the door at his Buenos Aires apartment three years ago was a traumatising experience. “I didn’t want to deal with the story of torture and murder I suspected lay in my past,” he said. The sample showed conclusively what the Grandmothers had long suspected, that Hilario Bacca, as he was named on his falsified birth certificate, was actually Federico Cagnola Pereyra.

The court in charge of the case quickly began the prosecution of Jorge and Cristina Bacca, the couple who raised him, and ordered his birth certificate changed to his real birth name.

But then Hilario Bacca, who is convinced the Baccas adopted him in good faith, surprised everyone by becoming the first person to appeal against such a name change in court. (more here…)

Another story in the NYTDaughter of ‘Dirty War,’ Raised by Man Who Killed Her Parents

The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who lost children during Argentina’s military dictatorship, protesting in Buenos Aires in 1977.

Victoria Montenegro recalls a childhood filled with chilling dinnertime discussions. Lt. Col. Hernán Tetzlaff, the head of the family, would recount military operations he had taken part in where “subversives” had been tortured or killed. The discussions often ended with his “slamming his gun on the table,” she said.

It took an incessant search by a human rights group, a DNA match and almost a decade of overcoming denial for Ms. Montenegro, 35, to realize that Colonel Tetzlaff was, in fact, not her father — nor the hero he portrayed himself to be.

Instead, he was the man responsible for murdering her real parents and illegally taking her as his own child, she said.

He confessed to her what he had done in 2000, Ms. Montenegro said. But it was not until she testified at a trial here last spring that she finally came to grips with her past, shedding once and for all the name that Colonel Tetzlaff and his wife had given her — María Sol — after falsifying her birth records.

The trial, in the final phase of hearing testimony, could prove for the first time that the nation’s top military leaders engaged in a systematic plan to steal babies from perceived enemies of the government (More here).

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