Court probe turns to how Guido Carlotto ended up in Olavarría
A day after Estela Barnes de Carlotto announced the discovery of her grandson Guido, it was time for the reunion.
While the Carlotto family kept yesterday’s planned reunion out of the limelight, the story of how the head of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo recovered her grandson is also one for the courts.
The following days will be probably marked by a judicial investigation to determine who was responsible for the snatching of Laura Carlotto’s baby boy in 1978.
Sources from Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo confirmed to the Herald on Tuesday that the death of the man who gave Guido to the parents who raised him triggered the man’s search for his real identity. Independently, weeks before Guido had even set foot in the headquarters of the organization that would end up turning his life upside-down, a different person filed a report with the research team. The report was ambiguous and did not provide many details. The man mentioned in the report was a civilian with no apparent ties to the military.
Though the human rights organization refused to reveal Guido’s former name, it was known that Juana and Clemente Hurban named him Ignacio. Clemente Hurban worked as a farmhand for Carlos Francisco “Pancho” Aguilar, a well-known farm owner who passed away in March at 74. Everything seems to indicate that Aguilar was the one who gave the baby to Clemente and Juana Hurban.
According to the local newspaper El Popular, Aguilar was a farmer who was also a member of the Olavarría’s Rural Society. Aguilar used to be the vice-president of Olavarría’s Estudiantes Club. The institution was yesterday contacted by the Herald but it declined to comment.
According to that local daily, Aguilar was involved in politics in the 1990s when Mayor José Eseverri’s father was in office.
“He will be rememebered as a devoted father and grandfather,” El Popular wrote in March when Aguilar passed away.
The Herald telephoned some of his relatives but they repeatedly declined to comment.
Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo said it would not give any details.
Judges will have to determine if Aguilar was the man who gave the baby to the couple and then to investigate what ties he had with the clandestine detention centre known as “La Cacha” — located next to the Olmos Penitentiary in the city of La Plata, where Laura Carlotto was held between November 1977 and August 1978. One witness has testified that the 23-year-old woman was taken to the Buenos Aires City Central Military Hospital to give birth to her baby but that has not been confirmed.
The case is now in the hands of Judge María Romilda Servini de Cubría, who opened the investigation in 1998. The judge was the person who on Tuesday at noon called the head of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo to inform her that her grandson had appeared.
In conversation with the Herald, Judge Servini de Cubría said that she will probably summon Guido to give his testimony and then she will have to analyze what role the couple who raised him played in his kidnapping.
“It would not be reasonable to summon Guido right now,” lawyer Alan Iud, who leads Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo legal team, told the Herald yesterday. “Guido needs to meet his family and he will probably need time to assimilate to this new situation. We wouldn’t like the judge to summon Guido now, especially after how the information was leaked to the press.”
There has been a heated controversy between the judge and human rights activists after the magistrate allegedly gave out Guido’s given name during a radio programme. In conversation with this newspaper, Servini de Cubría said the media already knew his name.
The investigation will have to follow several stages. First, the judge will have to confirm that the owner of the land where the Hurbans lived was involved in the appropriation and then try to determine his ties to the last military dictatorship.
As soon as the judge obtains Guido’s birth certificate, she will have to summon the doctor who signed it. The name of the doctor could also help to determine some of the links to the dictatorship death squads.
The last step will probably be summoning Clemente and Juana Hurban to give explanations.
Laura Carlotto’s murder is currently being examined in the trial in La Plata City for crimes committed in La Cacha.
The judge has to move forward with the investigation as does federal prosecutor Carlos Stornelli. Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo will probably act as one of the plaintiffs and Guido will have to decide if he wants to accuse the people involved in his appropriation. But first he will need time to get used to his identity and his real name, the one his mother chose for him.
Estela buried Laura on August 25, 1978. In 1985, forensic anthropologists confirmed word that Laura had given birth to a baby. Guido had been born on June 26, 1978.
Thirty-six years later, it’s time for justice.