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May 25, 2017

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Long-lost Argentine grandson says reunion 'magical'

BUENOS AIRES--The long-lost grandson of an activist who fights to find babies stolen during Argentina's dictatorship described Friday the complicated process of reconstructing his identity and his "wonderful, magical" reunion with his family.

Ignacio Hurban appeared at ease as he spoke to the media for the first time since discovering his real identity, joking that he did not mind whether reporters called him Ignacio, Guido — the name his mother gave him, according to survivors of the secret prison where he was born — or "Pacho," his nickname.

The 36-year-old broke into a grin as a he got a hug from his famous grandmother Estela Carlotto, the president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, his graying hair showing signs of the stark white hers has grown to at age 83.

Carlotto's rights group has battled for decades to find the estimated 500 babies taken from political prisoners during the 1976-1983 military regime's "dirty war" against leftist opponents.

Looking at her, Hurban, the 114th stolen baby to be found, said he was enjoying the discovery of his true identity, "but enjoying even more the happiness it's brought to others."

"It's been 48 hours now that I know who I am, or who I was or who I wasn't. All this is a little fresh," he told the throngs of journalists at the Buenos Aires headquarters of his grandmother's organization.

But still, "it has been wonderful and magical," he said.

He said he did not know "exactly what it was" that made him go to a national center that carries out genetic testing to find the missing babies that have never been identified.

He said he had learned two months ago, on his birthday, that he was adopted, and that the news had unlocked a "complicated process" in his mind.

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