Nobody’s Children

Argentina’s Stolen Babies & the
Unfair Legacy Thrust Upon Them

As far as G. knew, his was a great upbringing. Only child of a wealthy elderly couple, he grew up in a big house in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, with all the toys he ever wanted, many a happy summer spent in the Alps, and the occasional trip to Disneyland. Papá worked for the president, so he even got to play at the Casa Rosada sometimes.
It was there that he saw the old ladies. Everybody knew about ‘Las Locas de Jueves,’ as mamá used to call them. But now they were often on the evening news, ever so briefly. Then papá got arrested and G.’s world went into a downward spiral. Specially when he learned that his grandmother could be one of those Thursday Crazies.

Not the one he loved so much, and laid to rest at La Recoleta years ago. Someone else. Someone who helped sent his godfather to prison. Someone who called papá a torturer and a thief of kids. From then on, the life he knew began to unravel and almost nothing he ever thought was true, was. That was not his father. That was not his mother.
One day, someone knocked on his college dorm door. He opened it to a spitting image of his, staring back at him. ‘I’m Juan. I’m your twin,’ he said. It was the end of his studies and beginning of a heart-wrenching, gut-spilling, mind-twisting existence. It’d take long, if ever, for G., now, P., to either put pieces together or throw them all out for good.
That year, he’d part with being a teen, and with his entire history, family, and full name. He’d meet a whole new set of relatives he never knew existed, and is still not sure he’ll ever love; come to terms with his parents being monsters even as he wouldn’t be about to ever hate them; and replace his own personal, lived experience, with a narrative told by others.
He would also find out that he’s unwittingly part of one of the greatest tragedies that befell his country, and there won’t be a place for him to hide, or disappear, like what happened to his biological parents. As they, he’s now forever trapped within a tale not of his own making, and likely much bigger than his own life will ever be.
Speaking of life, his still unsure about what his is supposed to be. For the burning intensity of having an organic connection with a group of strangers, who suffered through hell to find and make him one of their own again, has no bearing on or anticipate whether any of his double lives – one of absence and the other, obliviousness – will ever belong to him.

THE SEARCH FOR THE NETOS
This fictional account of G., or P., or A., or K., has been multiplied more than a hundred times in Argentina. Ever since The Mothers of Plaza de Mayo picked a Thursday in 1977 to protest the disappearance of their sons and daughters, murdered by the military juntas that took over the country three years before, and lasted till 1983.
When it was obvious they would never return, the madres pressed for their children, many related to them, a humanitarian quest that’d sure to offer everyone hope. Historically, the theft of babies ordered by dictators is akin to the grotesque rape of women by every invading force since Antiquity, on their way to total domination and control of the blood lines of those they’ve vanquished.
It was integral to the wave of right-wing, fascist coups that swept Latin America from the 1960s on, few with the ferocity adopted in Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Such nefarious weapon of subjugation (more)
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Read Also:
* Dead Presidents
* South American Trio
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Papal Imbroglio

Argentina Beats Brazil in
the Vatican World Cup Final

In the end, it was as predictable as always: Jorge Mario Bergoglio beat Brazilian Odilo Scherer, who shares the same background of Latin America’s bloody military dictatorships of the 1960s and 70s, and became the first non-European pope. No African came close.
The church quickly picked the cardinal with the slightly better conservative credentials, as it was well aware that it could not afford any uncertainty about its choice to fester. Thus Francis I will rule at least until the next scandal calls for another early retirement.
Immediately, along with all the sponsored joy in Roma and throughout the world, those who survived Argentina’s cruel Dirty War, waged by the successive military juntas against their political opponents, have protested the choice, mentioning Bergoglio’s possible role during those dark times.
And at least one well-documented instance has been invoked: the kidnapping of Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, two Jesuit priests, in May of 1976, by paramilitary forces of the regime. They reappeared five months later, drugged and seminude, in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
According to Horacio Verbitsky, a journalist who published an account of the episode in his ‘The Silence,’ Yorio accused Bergoglio, then a Society of Jesus official, in Argentina, of having refused to properly protect the priests, who were persecuted by the Junta for their work among the poor living in slum communities.
The generals, who ruled Argentina with an iron fist during the period, neither acknowledged their imprisonment, nor the reasons for it, naturally. Yorio passed away in 2000, and the case would be destined to become a footnote, if Bergoglio hadn’t now risen to the top position of the Catholic church. Then again, as pope, it’s even more unlikely that he’d have to defend his actions.
A SCHOOL OF INTOLERANCE
He offered his version of the events to his biographer, Sergio Rubin, portraying himself not as the facilitator, but as the liberator of the two priests from their harrowing experience. He told Rubin that he personally interceded on their behalf with the dictator of du jour, the infamous Jorge Villela, who then, completely out of character, granted the priests mercy.
But Bergoglio, as Francis I, may not need to deny the other, perhaps more relevant, charge against him: that of being a homophobic, who’s Continue reading

South American Way

On Neruda, Garcia Marquez
& Argentina’s Stolen Children

The world remembers two Latin American writers who both received the Nobel of Literature, Chile’s Pablo Neruda, who would have been 108 yesterday, and Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez, whose mental health is reportedly deteriorating. Both were active in the struggle against the wave of military dictatorships that took over the continent for over 20 years, starting in the 1960s.
While there are doubts about Neruda’s cause of death, there’s much sadness about Garcia Marquez’s condition. But the week also had another sight that things are no longer as bleak as they once were: members of the junta that ruled Argentina during the time were convicted of having stolen children of many members of the opposition, who they also stand accused having killed.
It was a dark time for South America, as one by one, almost all governments in the region fell under the iron-fisted control of its military. A whole generation of political leaders, who opposed the status quo, were killed or ‘disappeared,’ and it’s been taking a long time for all the facts about the period to come to light.
Both Neruda and Garcia Marquez became well known all over the world, their work suffused by what was going on around them. They were natural symbols of the resistance in their countries, either by Continue reading