January 18, 2018

‘Goodbye, grandma’

Friday, August 8, 2014

After 36 years, family finally meets Laura’s son

By Luciana Bertoia
Herald Staff

Estela Barnes de Carlotto is likely to always remember the first time her 36-year-old grandson Guido said “goodbye, grandma.”

After 36 years of an epic search, Estela met her daughter Laura’s son on Wednesday for the first time. Yesterday it was time for Guido to meet his cousins and to get used to his new family, a family that has long hoped to find him him.

“I met a wonderful person,” Carlotto yesterday told the journalists gathered outside her house in the city of La Plata.

“I did not want to touch him. I did not want to exhaust him but I finally hugged him. I’ve been waiting for that embrace for years.”

On Wednesday, the head of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo was planning to get to her office in Buenos Aires City but something unexpected made her change her plans. “No, Estela is going to the hairdresser’s,” someone said. Estela wanted to look pretty to meet her grandson.

For the 36-year-old musician, life has turned upside-down all at once. On Tuesday, he received a phone call from the head of the National Commission for the Right to Identity (CONADI) Claudia Carlotto, who told him that he was the son of disappeared parents and that he was the grandson of the most iconic human rights leader in the country. A couple of hours later, he texted Claudia saying he was happy and willing to meet them.

After the reunion with his nephew, Estela’s eldest son, 55-year-old Guido “Kibo” Carlotto, was amazed. “He’s an incredible person,” Kibo told the Herald.

Laura was Estela’s eldest daughter. She had three siblings: Kibo, Claudia and Remo. The three of them joined their 83-year-old mother going through the most desired moment of their lives.

“When I looked at him I realized that he was identical to his father,” Kibo said. “But when I started listening to him talk about music I realized that he was a Carlotto,” he added. Kibo was a musician. He left music behind when the political persecution began.

His sister, Laura, was a Montoneros clandestine militant, that is why she was not able to introduce her boyfriend, Wilmar Oscar Montoya, to her family.

Joined by music

On Wednesday, it was music that helped bring members of the family together and rebuild the ties that state violence had destroyed.

“It seemed to me that I was talking to a life-long acquaintance. The reunion went much better than we expected,” Kibo, Buenos Aires province Governor Daniel Scioli’s Human Rights Secretary added.

Kibo said his nephew proved himself to be a warm person but needed time to process all the information that has been thrown at him over the past few days.

“He said he is going to ask all the questions. But two days ago he learned that he was the son of disappeared parents and he also learned who his grandmother is!” Kibo said, excitedly. He talked to the Herald as another reunion was taking place, this time with Guido’s 13 cousins. Today Guido will meet his other grandmother, Hortensia Ardura.

“We will tell him what he wants to know. On my sister’s grave, my mother swore to find her baby and to tell him who his mother was and why she was abducted,” Kibo said. “She still has time for that. She has kept her promise.”


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