Latin America & Caribbean

Argentine 'Dirty War' baby back with biological family

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Media captionPablo Javier Gaona was one month old when his parents were detained by Argentine security services, never to be seen or heard of again

An Argentine man stolen from his parents during military rule when he was just a month old has been reunited with his biological family.

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, which aims to find children taken during the 1976-1983 dictatorship, said he was the 106th they had recovered.

Pablo Javier Gaona Miranda, 34, was identified as the son of parents who disappeared in 1978.

Several hundred babies are believed to have been taken from their mothers.

The president of the Grandmothers, Estela de Carlotta, told a news conference in Buenos Aires that Pablo Javier had come to them a month ago in an attempt to find his true identity.

"Pablo Javier always knew that he was adopted," she said.

But he always had his doubts about his origins and his adoptive mother told him in 2008 that he was the son of disappeared parents.

Pablo Javier, who did not attend the news conference, was born in April 1978.

A month later his parents, Paraguayan Ricardo Gaona Paiva and Argentine Maria Rosa Miranda, were kidnapped by the armed forces and never seen again.

Pablo Javier was given to a family by an army colonel to raise as their own. His biological family had been searching for him ever since.

"And to all of my brothers, I say to them we have a nephew. A nephew who is the first grandchild, the first nephew," Pablo Javier's uncle said.

Lost identities

The fate of stolen babies is one of the most painful legacies of Argentina's "Dirty War".

During this period, up to 30,000 people were killed or disappeared by the armed forces, according to rights groups.

Children born to mothers held in detention centres were given to police or army families.

Many were brought up not knowing they were adopted and only found out as adults.

Many more still do not know that they were seized from their parents, the Grandmothers say.

Some children have said they would rather not know their origins, especially if the information implicates their adoptive parents in illegal acts.

Last month, two former military leaders, Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone, were found guilty of overseeing the systematic theft of babies from political prisoners.

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