Photo: BoNoNoBo

It sounds like something out of a bestselling dystopian novel, but it’s horribly real: in the 1970s, tens of thousands of so-called subversives were murdered by a despotic Argentinian government. What happened to their children? They grew up under the roofs of their parents’ killers. Distraught, the women of Argentina organized. Now, two of the most famous siblings in the country are under investigation–could they be children of the desaparecidos? Francis Goldman investigates in the New Yorker.

On April 22, 2010, the country’s four largest daily newspapers published a letter signed by Marcela and Felipe. “Like so many adopted children, we don’t know our biological identities, but like any other person we’ve formed our own identities in the course of our lives,” they wrote. “We’ve never seen any concrete proof that we are children of the disappeared. . . . The political use of our story seems unjust. . . . Thirty-four years ago our mother chose us to be her children. And we, every day, choose her to be our mother.” The letter did little to dispel the general impression of the siblings as captives, whose every utterance was controlled by Grupo Clarín and its lawyers, and it only added to the public’s perception of them as having a sense of aggrieved entitlement. Any adopted children born in Argentina in 1976, especially those with as many irregularities in their adoption records as Marcela and Felipe, could be subject to an investigation. The Noble Herreras’ long history of resistance made it look as if they were desperate to hide the truth.

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