Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize five times, the Abuelas group has members whose lives read like the pages of a horror novel. Born out of the atrocities committed during the country's last military dictatorship (1976-83) – which was backed by the United States – the group comprises mothers whose daughters and daughters-in-law were abducted and killed by the military regime for their leftist views.
But the armed forces had a perverse rationale. Women who were pregnant were kept alive until they gave birth. Their newly born children were then forcibly adopted by other families and given false identities: The military's aim was to ensure that they didn't grow up with the same political orientation as their murdered mothers.
The Abuelas are still searching for some 500 "stolen babies" – their grandchildren – who have grown up unaware of who they are (so far, 107 children, now adults, have been "returned" to their biological families thanks to DNA testing).
Of all the South American nations that lived through a dictatorship, Argentina is the only country that had a systematic plan involving the abduction of babies.
Ms. Carlotto's own daughter Laura was kidnapped in 1977 and killed in 1978 after she'd given birth to a son in captivity named Guido, after his grandfather. The body of Carlotto's daughter was returned to her by the armed forces, one of the few bodies returned to parents.
Despite more than 30 years of searching, Carlotto has never found her grandson. So what stops her from admitting defeat and making herself comfortable in her favorite armchair?
"Strength is love, you see," Carlotto answers. "They [the military] killed my daughter. I won't forget her, and I want truth and justice. I'm looking for a grandchild, too, which is also motivated by love, so there's no way I can stop doing what I'm doing."