Photo: Pope Francis Tells Argentine Rights Group "Count on Me"
Pope Francis on Wednesday told the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo that they can “count on him” in seeking the whereabouts of the children of people disappeared during Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship and who were illegally placed with other families to raise.
The president of the organization, Estela de Carloto, said that the pontiff had relayed this message to them after she met with Francis at the Vatican at the end of his traditional Wednesday public audience.
“Count on me. I’m at your disposal,” the pope told De Carloto, who attended the audience along with Juan Cabandie, the son of people who were killed by the military regime, and Buscarita Roa, a member of the association.
The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo asked the pope to open the archives of the Argentine Catholic Church and the Vatican to help them determine the fates of the 400 children of disappeared people, their grandchildren, who still have not been identified and who were separated from their parents when the latter were arrested and summarily executed by the dictatorship.
“That is very significant and it confirms to us the pope’s commitment, the Church’s commitment,” De Carloto said, adding that the pontiff, when he was Argentina’s top cardinal, “never spoke about the disappeared and that saddened us.”
The representative of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo said that the dictatorship killed her daughter two months after she gave birth, and they took the child away, adding that she and her companions are returning to Argentina convinced that a new phase is beginning in their effort to identify their relatives.