Jun 5, 2021 - World

Argentina is seeking DNA samples to identify those "disappeared"

An intake sample kit for the campaign to collect DNA samples, which is being promoted with the hashtag #ArgentinaTeBusca (Argentina is looking for you). Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images
An intake sample kit for the campaign to collect DNA samples, which is being promoted with the hashtag #ArgentinaTeBusca (Argentina is looking for you). Photo: Juan Mabromata/AFP via Getty Images

An extensive international campaign is underway through Argentine embassies and consulates to obtain genetic samples that could link families to people who were "disappeared" during the country’s last dictatorship.

Why it matters: The government, a specialized forensic team and the Grandmothers and Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo movements are hoping to find missing grandchildren.

  • The children would have been sent abroad to elude kidnapping or taken to another country by military men who illegally adopted the babies of women killed for their suspected opposition to the government.
  • The EAAF team has recovered over 1,400 bodies from unmarked mass graves since 1984 and has already identified 800 people.
  • The project is looking to find genetic matches for the missing 600.
  • The remains will then be returned to families, and they’ll be given financial reparations.

The bottom line: 30,000 people, most of them civilians and known as los desaparecidos, were systematically taken to clandestine sites and killed by the military junta that came into power in 1976, aided by a CIA operation. It ruled until 1983.

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