The recent conviction of former Argentine dictators for child kidnapping is a victory for the perseverance of the Grandmothers of Disappeared who never gave up on their decades-long fight to bring to justice those responsible for killing their children and stealing their grandchildren.
The judges’ ruling, which added 50 years to the sentence of former dictator Jorge Rafael Videla and to other repressors for the same charge, established as fact that there was a “systematic and widespread practice of kidnapping children”.
There is no direct evidence of the plan but involved in the process of kidnapping the babies were doctors, nurses, and military personnel who watched over the pregnant prisoners until they gave birth and then were murdered and judges who falsified documents and gave the babies away, in many cases to military families.
No one believes this could have happened under the strict military rule without the knowledge and consent of the military junta headed up by Videla.
This decision doesn’t close this tragic chapter in the history of Argentina. As of today, 100 individuals have found their biological families and identities, while it is believed that there are another 400 men and women who still do not know that their parents were murdered by the dictatorship and that they were adopted.
That’s why the struggle of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo will continue until all the grandchildren are found, although time is running short given their advanced age. They want to recover the only thing that remains of their children, the grandchildren who were turned into the plunder of war.
Tragically, such suffering is all too familiar for many mothers and grandmothers throughout Latin America whose children and grandchildren were murdered by the repression of the military governments. They also want to see justice for the torturers and murderers who believed they had the power over life and death.
Argentina’s road to justice has been long and complicated, but it was necessary to insure that the past is never repeated again. This is path to follow in order to once and for all put the ghosts of the brutal dictatorships behind us.