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US was aware of Argentine military “systematic plan to steal babies born in captivity”

Friday, January 27th 2012 - 11:44 UTC
Full article 25 comments
Elliott Abrams: babies were handed to reliable (non communist) thankful couples Elliott Abrams: babies were handed to reliable (non communist) thankful couples

The administration of US President Ronald Reagan was aware of the “planned” stealing of babies born in captivity from jailed political prisoners, during the Argentine military dictatorship (1976/1983), since there was a “clear decision” to hand them to families considered faithful and reliable to the regime, said a former top US official.

“It wasn’t one or two cases, or one or two officers involved, but many, thus there was a pattern, a plan” to take away those babies from their biological families which they considered “non trustworthy or communists”, said Elliott Abrams former US Assistant Secretary of State.

He added that during his post as Under Secretary for Human Rights issues, from 1982 to 1985, he “does not recall any case” of systematic stealing of political prisoners babies in any part of the world as the one implemented by the Argentine military.

“It was the worst of all cases” among all dictatorships and military regimes in those years both in Latin America and in Asia said the former Reagan administration officer who added that it was his task “to advance the human rights issue in those countries”.

Abrams made the statements on a video conference from Washington as a witness in a case in a federal court in Buenos Aires. He also revealed that in talks with then Argentine ambassador Lucio García del Solar he suggested that “the Church could help to solve the matter”.  

The issue was “very difficult to address not only for the military but for any future democratic government” said Abrams who described Garcia del Solar “not as a representative from the dictatorship but rather as a member of the future civilian government and deeply democratic”.

The issue was considered in a private meeting 3 December 1982 to certify “the advance of Argentina in human rights issues” and the babies immediately cropped up since it was “the most important human rights problem in Argentina” and “we were talking of live children” and not the disappeared which the State Department considered dead. 

Abrams wrote a memo of his meeting with Garcia del Solar which was declassified by the State Department in 2002, which then led solicitor Alan Lud from the Plaza de Mayo Grandmothers to have him testify in the court case on “the (military) systematic plan to steal babies”, which is coming to an end.

In his report Abrams to higher ranks at the State Department, Abrams said he suggested forming a committee with members of the Catholic Church, academia and other sectors and Ambassador Del Solar promised to take the proposal to the Argentine ministry.

When questioned Abrasm said he could not recall if the suggestion was a specific instruction, and also admitted the State Department at the time did not have an estimate of the cases involved.

The US official mentioned meeting Argentine human rights’ activists such as Emilio Mignone and Adolfo Perez Esquivel but did not reveal the State Department sources from which the issue of stealing babies born in captivity or snatched following the killing of their parents, was considered of “extreme graveness”.

“The reason for this conduct was that on the one side the military considered the families (of the babies) non apt to bring them up because they were communists” and on the other side there was a specific decision to hand them to couples that could not procreate “but were loyal to the dictatorship and for which a child was a blessing”.

“This is not a personal reasoning, it was an analysis circulating at the time in the US government”, however thirty years later he could remember the origin of such reasoning.

Abrams between 1985 and 1989 declared he was Assistant Secretary of State for Latin American affairs during the Reagan administrations. Currently he is an advisor on Middle East issues.

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  • Artillero 601

    “systematic plan to steal babies ”

    what a load of bullshit !!

    Jan 27th, 2012 - 02:14 pm 0
  • Marcos Alejandro

    “US was aware of Argentine military “systematic plan to steal babies born in captivity”

    The only surprise is that anyone is surprised at this latest news, except a few black sheeps of course.

    Jan 27th, 2012 - 03:57 pm 0
  • ChrisR

    Yes, but now I suppose everyone in Argentina who was over the age of 18 when this happened, and everyone waving 'Malvinas' flags at the time, NEVER DID IT!

    It wasn't me gov! You can just picture this can't you.

    Jan 27th, 2012 - 04:07 pm 0
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