Restitution - 25th April 2017

Welcome to the truth, Grandchild 122

  • Author: Abuelas
  • Translation: Silvia Cryan

He is the son of Iris García Soler and Enrique Bustamante and was born in the ESMA (Naval School of Mechanics).

Press conference on the restitution of grandson #122
Source: Abuelas Data: 25.04.2017

Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo has the joy to communicate the restitution of the son of Iris García Soler and Enrique Bustamante, both disappeared on January 31st 1977 during the last civic-military dictatorship. When kidnapped, Iris was three-months pregnant. She had called her parents to tell them she would pay a visit, but then she cancelled the appointment and her family never heard from her since, nor from her partner or the baby which should have been born in July that same year. Thanks to the perseverance of our search and the work of the National Committee for the Right to Identity (CONADI), today grandchild number 122 is able to know the truth about his origins.

The Parents

Iris Nélida was born on May 15th 1952 in the city of Mendoza. She studied Sociology at the Catholic Argentine University (UCA), and her family and friends called her "Susuki". Enrique was born on June 5th 1951 and was known as "Bebé".

Iris started her activity in the Juventud Universitaria Peronista - JUP movement (Peronist University Youth), and then shared her political affiliation with Enrique in the organization "Montoneros". There she was known as "Tita", "Pajarito" (Little Bird) or "La Gallega", and him as "El Lobo" (The Wolf) or "El Chamaco".

They were both kidnapped by members of the Federal Police at the pension where they lived together, in the city of Buenos Aires, at Tacuarí street approximately number 400. They were seen at the clandestine center of detention "Club Atlético" and thanks to the testimony of survivors, it has been known that Enrique was taken to the ESMA and then back to Club Atlético. Iris was detained at Club Atlético until May 1977, and then she was moved to the ESMA to give birth. Her companions in captivity called her "la Lobita" (Little Wolf). Such a fact proves the repressive coordination between the Argentine Navy and other security forces, in this case with the Argentine Federal Police.

On the other hand, ESMA survivors' testimonials reported that "Tita" had given birth to a baby boy in July 1977, and that she was able to hold the child in her arms. The different nicknames and accounts made it difficult to identify "Tita", - the pregnant kidnapped woman - and "la Lobita", - the one who had given birth at ESMA - as the same person.

The investigation

A formal complaint about Iris Nelida García's pregnancy and disappearance was made by her father, Manuel García. At the same time, from Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, and thanks to Nilda Orazi's testimony and other ESMA survivors, it became known that there was a young pregnant woman called "la Lobita", who was moved from the clandestine center of detention Club Atlético to the ESMA to give birth. But the pieces would finally fit at a later stage.

In 2004, CONADI started to work in the identification of two women. One of them, nicknamed "Tita" had been seen by different released prisoners from Club Atlético; the other, "La Lobita", had been seen at ESMA.

This investigation concluded that one of Iris nicknames was "Tita", therefore a connection was made with the pregnant woman seen at Club Atlético. Later, the identity of her partner was found out as "El Lobo", and it was discovered that he had not been claimed as a disappeared person. Enrique's nickname allowed investigators to establish that Iris was in fact "La Lobita" seen at ESMA.

By the end of 2004, a person who had been released from ESMA, and whose militant activities had taken place in the same environment as the couple, was able to identify "el lobo"(the wolf) and "la Lobita"(little wolf) or "Tita" as Enrique Bustamante and Iris Nélida García. Thus, a new case was assigned to the National Genetic Data Bank (BNDG). However, until then there were no family members of Enrique Bustamante to contact, since no claim had been made and his parents had died. Only in 2010, a cousin approached the Human Rights Secretariat to request information about Enrique and a formal claim was filed, as well as the incorporation of the family group to the BNDG.

It is important to point out that both the disappearance of Iris and the appropriation of her son are included in the trial for the crimes committed at ESMA which started in 2013, before the Federal Criminal Oral Tribunal Number 5 of the city of Buenos Aires.

The Search

In the face of numerous claims received by Abuelas, the province of Córdoba affiliate branch decided to contact a young man who presumably was the son of a disappeared couple, through their Team of Approach. This young man agreed on taking DNA tests voluntarily and on April 18th last, the BNDG informed CONADI that he was the son of Iris García and Enrique Bustamante.

This new restitution is the demonstration that truth and justice always defeat oblivion and silence. It took many years to determine the identity of Iris and Enrique, and many more to contact their relatives, who didn't know about the existence of a child whose identity had been stolen. The grandchild himself had to wait until he was told he could be the son of disappeared persons in order to know his origins.

This case shows that trials had been and still are a fundamental tool, and that State must accompany the process of Memory, Truth and Justice with public policies . We ask the society as a whole to continue to help us find our grandchildren.

This year we are reaching 40 years of search and there are still hundreds of families who long to embrace their beloved ones. Please, let's break the silence and let doubt leave the more than 300 men and women who still don't know who they are.