The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo organization has confirmed that they have found the child of Violeta Graciela Ortolani and Edgardo Roberto Garnier, who were disappeared during the last military dictatorship, bringing the number of grandchildren found by the Grandmothers to 126. The announcement was met with joy after recent sadness caused by the deaths of two human rights activists.
At a press conference held today at the headquarters of the Grandmothers’ organization, the daughter of Garnier and Ortolani spoke of feeling “complete” after hearing the news about her parents. “I’m happy, I feel complete. My life is complete. The feeling of thinking that I was abandoned, sold, unwanted, and I wasn’t even sure about that, to feeling that I was someone who had been very much wanted, very much searched for, that I have a beautiful family and a grandmother, I can’t believe it!” said the granddaughter, who said her first name is Adriana.
“I was able to talk to her today. She’s great. I already love her” she added. Having found out recently that she had been adopted, she approached the Grandmothers and after a round of genetic testing was told she was not a match in any of the databases. It was only after the CONADI (Comisión Nacional por el Derecho a la Identidad) contacted her again with new information that she learned of her birth parents’ identity.
“Violeta was kidnapped on December 14, 1976 in the neighborhood of La Granja in La Plata. She was eight months pregnant. From then on, Edgardo moved heaven and earth to find his wife and then returned to his town in Entre Ríos. Close to the likely date of the birth, he resumed his search. He said farewell saying that he was going to look for his child and soon after, on February 8, 1977, he was also kidnapped in La Plata” said Estela de Carlotto, head of the Grandmothers, at the press conference. She added that child’s family continued the search and was one of the first to file a report with the Grandmothers. Until this week there had been no leads.
The 126th grandchild, who was born in January 1977 and was issued a false birth certificate signed by a doctor who has been linked to several cases of abducted babies, also encouraged anyone who had any doubts about their family histories to come forwards. “Love beats hate. Love is more powerful than hate, always.”
The announcement was tinged with a dose of sadness as recently two members of the human rights movement have passed away without being reunited with their grandchildren. Marta Vásquez, president of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo – Founding Line and Raquel Radío de Marizcurrena, founding member of the Mothers and Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, died in November.
Edgardo Garnier’s mother, Blanca Díaz de Garnier, however was able to celebrate yesterday, telling Radio 10 that she “didn’t expect to experience this happiness. I saw others be reunited with their grandchildren and I would say to myself ‘it’s never my turn.’ I can’t ask for anything better than this.”
The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo strive to find children born to victims of forced disappearances in captivity and illegally abducted during the military dictatorship between 1976-1983. The Grandmothers estimate that over 500 children were given or sold to allies of the dictatorship. A National Genetic Data Bank helps to identify the relatives of those disappeared using DNA samples.