The Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of May Square) is a civilian (non-governmental) organization to find and rescue all of the children kidnapped or wrongfully adopted during the Dirty War in Argentina. It is related to the Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of May Square). About 30,000 (although the authorities claim only 15,000) people were abducted during the Dirty War by the military dictatorship; of these, hundreds were children. Many children were born to mothers that had been taken. Also, many children were left abandoned and in orphanages, and their identities were unknown. The purpose of the organization is to reunite the children who survived this with their families, and to confirm the deaths of those who didn't.
The Grandmothers of May Square have been searching for child survivors of the Dirty War since its end, and even during the war, starting in 1977. They use four separate tactics to recover the missing children. One is denunciation before national and foreign governments. This brings attention to the cause, and encourages others to contribute resources to the effort. More resources in this area would help the search and probably make it easier to find the missing children. Another tactic is denunciation before the judiciary. This will hopefully result in changed laws (and has already), allowing the children to be found more easily and allowing their kidnappers to be punished. One such law is National Law 23.511, which created a national genetic database; the children's information will be entered into this database, and the genetic history of their families can be traced. Yet another tactic is advertisements in the press directed to the general public and personal investigations. This will send the message to the people who need to see it: the Argentines. Hopefully, the kidnappers of children will come forth out of conscience and admit their wrongdoing. It is also possible that such a measure will result in anyone with knowledge or whereabouts of missing children coming forth with information. Personal investigations will aid in the Grandmothers' search for the children.
Using these mentioned tactics, the Grandmothers of May Square have located 58 (or 70... sources conflict) disappeared children. Of those 58, 8 were murdered. 33 of the 50 have been reunited with their families. Others are in contact with their grandparents. Their true identities have been restored to them thanks to the work of the Grandmothers of May Square. The organization has a team of 18 lawyers, doctors, and psychologists working to help the children. Each child (of the rescued 50) has a case pending before the judiciary. Over time, the real identity of all of these children will be found. Hopefully, the identity of their kidnappers (or illegal adopters) will be found as well so that they can be prosecuted.
New advanced medical testing can be used to determine the identity of a child. With help from the Blood Center of New York and the Association for the Advancement of Science, they are now able to test whether a child is descended from grandparents with 99.95% accuracy. These tests are conducted at Durand Hospital in Buenos Aires. The tests consist of determining genetic markers through analysis of blood groups, histocompatibility, seric proteins, and blood cell enzymes; the results of this testing provide conclusive proof of the identity of a child.
Of all the people abducted during the Dirty War, about 220 of them are estimated to be children. These children could either have been abducted with their parents, or the mother may have given birth after being abducted. Many of these children were killed, and many were illegally adopted (kidnapped) by members of the military; a sad thing to note is that they probably would've been killed had they not been adopted. Out of these estimated 220, 58 have been accounted for. By that statistic, 26.3% of the children of the Dirty War have been accounted for. That leaves many more who are still missing. The story of one child who will forever be missing is recollected by Sergeant Pablo Caraballo in "Otro torturador revela horrores de la guerra sucia en Argentina", or "Another torturer reveals horrors of the Dirty War in Argentina."
There was a pregnant woman in the concentration camp who was "very ugly, and was therefore destined to be killed along with her fetus, since everybody thought it would look ugly." The woman was 36 years old. She was held in the camp for a long time, and suffered pain and torture. Her friends in the concentration camp taught her exercises to alleviate pains during child birth. Caraballo asked for her baby, even though he had children of his own already, because he "felt it would be a pity to kill it." However, it was all in vain. Caraballo recalls, "One day, when I was not on guard duty in El Campito, this pregnant woman was taken on a 'flight' together with other prisoners... and was then thrown out of a plane with her unborn baby."
It is sad stories like this one that illustrate just how horrible the Dirty War was, and why it is so important that the missing children be accounted for, and the living ones be reunited with their families. The Grandmothers of May Square have recovered 58 of these children. Hopefully one day they will find all of the remaining ones.