A survivor of the gruesome El Salvador 13-year civil war, helps to shed light on the bad acts of soldiers in the Central American country. During the war, low-to-mid-ranking soldiers stole abducted children from their homes and loved ones, according to a Feb. 22 ABC News report.
For survivor Gregoria Contreras, now 35, blurred childhood memories center around the time she last saw her parents. Then, 4, Contreras and her two siblings were stolen during a fight between government troops and guerillas near her family home.
“We all fled the house and suddenly it all ended because they captured us and our parents disappeared,” said Contreras, who at the time was abducted by an army private who raped her and gave her his surname. She now lives in Guatemala.
The war, which left approximately 75,000 people dead and thousands missing, had another element to it, and now an international court is blowing the lid wide open on what it calls a “systematic pattern of forced disappearances.” It is a tragic case where soldiers either reportedly abducted the children and raised them as their own or sold them to “lucrative illegal adoption networks.”
The full scope of the child abduction is unknown, but according to ABC News, other than Argentina, El Salvador the second Latin American country confirmed to engage in such child abductions during internal Cold War-era conflicts.
The government is trying to investigate but there are hurdles. Contreras and other families of the victims of military abductions successfully sued their government in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, demanding the military release more information. Three years later, the military still has not complied with the court’s requests. “Without those files we can't say this or that officer is responsible,” said the country's attorney general, Oscar Luna.
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