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Former Argentine dictator Jorge Videla convicted of systemic theft of babies

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During his testimony, Videla claimed those trying to subvert the military’s rule used their babies as “human shields” in their fight against the state, according to MSNBC.

"The women giving birth, who I respect as mothers, were militants who were active in the machine of terror," he said at the end of the trial. Videla, who is already serving a life sentence for other crimes committed during the Dirty War, denied that any children taken were part of a sweeping plan.

Win for the Grandmothers

The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a human rights group, has played a large part in bringing international attention to the issue.

The group has gathered evidence and used DNA to expose the atrocities of the Dirty War and have used their findings in hopes of locating the infants of their disappeared children. The Grandmothers have identified 106 people who were stolen.

“DNA has changed everything,” says Laurel Reuter, director of the North Dakota Museum of Art and curator of a 2006-2010 traveling art exhibit called Los Desaparecidos, or The Disappeared.

The role of art

One of the installations, designed to bring international attention to the aftermath of the disappeared included in the exhibit was called Identidad, or Identity, created in 1998 at the behest of the Grandmothers group. Some 13 Argentine artists created the instillation which includes a series of photos of disappeared couples who were pregnant or had infants at the time of their disappearance. Next to each couple’s photos was a mirror where the viewer’s face was reflected back. The piece aimed to provoke viewers to consider the question: Are you the missing child, now adult, that belongs to these parents?

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