One chapter ends and another begins in the ongoing mystery of baby-theft and illicit adoptions in Argentina. This one, unfortunately, offers no easy answers for the time being:
The DNA tests recently performed on the Noble Herrera siblings, the adopted children of the president of the Clarín media group, Ernestina Herrera de Noble, did not match those they were compared against by the National Genetic Data Bank; a fact which demonstrates at least that of the genetic branches selected, the youngsters are not related to those particular disappeared persons from the last dictatorship.
After these preliminary results, a second round of testing will take place, which will consist of a comparison of Marcela and Felipe’s genetic material with all the profiles in the National Genetic Data Bank (BNDG), as requested by the organization of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.
However, by request of Belén Cardozo, current director of the BNDG, the second round should be suspended, because Judge Arroyo Salgado had ordered the comparison of the samples against those of all persons born in 1976 (the year in which Marcela and Felipe were born) and, though they are registered in the BNDG, it is not possible to determine which individuals correspond to that date.
Judge Arroyo Salgado had ordered to testing in various phases. The first was completed upon comparison of the samples with those given by two plaintiff families, the Lanoscou-Mirandas and the Gualdero-Garcías.
These DNA comparisons gave negative results, and for that reason, the magistrate ruled that later in the week, more DNA comparisons would follow, this time for all families of kidnap victims of the dictatorship in the years 1975 and 1976, and who are searching for babies born in clandestine detention centres in those years. This would be the second step of the procedure of DNA comparison ordered by the magistrate.
The two adopted children of Ernestina Herrera de Noble, widow of the Clarín media group founder, Roberto Noble, have repeatedly insisted that the DNA testing they were subjected to be compared only to those of the two families who brought suit nine years ago, suspecting that Marcela and Felipe might have been babies stolen from their parents by the military in a clandestine prison.
It was suspected that Herrera de Noble, who supported the military dictatorship, adopted the two possibly-stolen children in 1976, in an irregular manner.
The theft of babies born in prison was a very common practice during the military dictatorship, and is considered a crime against humanity.
Some might want to let sleeping dogs lie, but that’s been going on far too long in Argentina. The longer the military dictatorship’s crimes against humanity go unaddressed, the longer a deep and corrupting rift within Argentine society will go unhealed. So far, only a fraction of the missing babies have been identified. If these two, whose adoption was indeed suspicious, prove to be among them, it will represent one small step towards the truth in a country where too many have been living a big lie for too long.