The head of the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo human rights group, Estela de Carlotto, has said she will request a meeting with Javier Milei and ask the president-elect to respect her organisation’s search for the missing grandchildren whose identities were stolen by Argentina’s 1976-1983 military dictatorship.
Carlotto, 93, said that she was disappointed by the result of the election but would keep leading her NGO’s quest for justice.
"I have a feeling of failure after the election but that's it, the vote was popular and we have to respect it, I personally am still in Abuelas and we must continue searching for the grandchildren. We are going to ask for an audience with the president-elect so that he knows what we are doing and helps us," said Carlotto.
Milei is a noted critic of Argentina’s human rights policies and his vice-presidential running-mate, Victoria Villarruel, who comes from a military family, has sought to equate the state terrorism that saw approximately 30,000 people disappeared by the security forces with the violence perpetrated by left-wing guerrilla groups in the lead-up to the 1976 coup.
Carlotto has criticised previous remarks from Milei that allege that Argentina’s human rights movement is a “scam” designed to whitewash corruption.
"The fight we have fought so far has strengthened us, we hope to find that line that was marked in the campaign. We will see if he changes it or not, the vice-president has a lot of evil [around her]. Now she has that role, she should keep that thought and watch over the people,” said Carlotto.
"We are all Argentines and we have rights, we ask that the search for our grandchildren be respected, the world will defend us, the OAS [Organisation of American States], the people in Washington, other European countries have received us with honours, a president cannot change that," said the president of the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo.
The group of grandmothers was founded in 1977 by women trying to find their arrested daughters – and the babies they bore in captivity. The Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo take their name from the famous square in Buenos Aires where protesters demanded information from the military junta about the whereabouts of their loved ones.
The group are still looking for hundreds of men and women who are living with false identities, born during the captivity of their mothers who later disappeared, or abducted as babies with them.
Carlotto – who supported the ruling coalition’s candidate, Economy Minister Sergio Massa, in the election campaign – said she would like to hold talks Milei and said she had been open to meeting with all of Argentina’s heads of state.
"The only one who at the time refused to receive us was [former 2015-2019 president Mauricio] Macri,” she told local radio. “Milei, as president, should receive everyone.