The Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo presented José Luis Maulín Pratto as the 120th grandchild to recover his true identity after being abducted during Argentina’s last military dictatorship.
According to Abuelas, Maulín discovered his real identity in 2009, but the courts in Santa Fe have still not returned him his true family name. The human rights organisation said that “after getting to know José Luis and his story in full today, Abuelas decided to incorporate him into the list of ‘recovered’ grandchildren and welcome him and Grandchild 120.”
Maulín was born on 26th March 1977, exactly one year after the military coup and several months after his father Rubén Maulín, an activist with the Marxist Partido Revolucionario de los Trabajadores (PRT), was disappeared.
When his mother, Luisa Pratto, attended a private clinic to give birth, she was registered as Cecilia Góngora de Segretín, the name of the woman that took the new born baby home.
After a spell in a clandestine detention centre, Rubén Maulín was entered into the formal prison system and eventually released in 1982. He and Pratto began searching for their child. The falsified medical records gave them the name of the family who had appropriated the baby, but when they finally discovered their whereabouts, in the early 1990s, they were impeded and threatened.
In 2008, the family’s case was taken on by the local courts in Santa Fe. José Luis Maulín heard his biological mother, Luisa Pratto, speak on local radio and decided to take a test to confirm his true identity. Maulín says he was already aware that he was not physically similar to the parents that raised him, but had been told he was born after his father had an extra-marital affair.
Maulín was reunited with his biological family in 2009, but has so far been unable to legally change his name. “Even though it has been 39 years, they are still committing the same crime against me,” he said yesterday as he was formally presented as Grandchild #120 by the Abuelas.
Maulín returned to Santa Fe today to testify in a trial against Cecilia Góngora, the woman who raised him, and the doctor who signed his false birth certificate.
According to Abuelas, “this is another case of the kidnapping, hiding, and changing identity of a baby as part of state terrorism.”
President of the organisation Estela de Carlotto added yesterday that the court delay in granting Maulín his true family name was because the couple that took him away were civilians. “It is a political and ideological issue to try and cover up the complicity of civilians with State terrorism,” she claimed.