Tuesday, May 3, 2011
OPEN THE MISSING BABIES’ TOMBS
For over a year I have written about the missing babies first from La Línea but then throughout Cádiz province and wider Spain. Their parents fear they were taken from them at birth and handed over to an adopted family.
The cases largely date from the 1960s and 1970s and the initial reports centred on La Línea’s former municipal hospital and two nursing homes. At least one of these babies, now a grown man, has links to Gibraltar.
Whilst the cases in La Línea were quickly taken up by the Algeciras prosecutor and handed over to the National Police for investigation the Cádiz prosecutor has been slower to act. The majority of cases in the provincial capital relate to the Zamacola nursing home which stood on the site of the present Punta Europa Hospital.
Anadir, the association that represents many of the families who fear their babies or brothers and sisters were stolen for adoption, has collected over 2,000 signatures to demand that the Cádiz investigation is speeded up. After a meeting of 300 members in Chiclana a protest has been called for May 4 when its delegate in Andalucía, Chary Herrera, will meet the Cádiz prosecutor to make two demands.
The first and most fundamental is that an order be issued to open the niches that are supposed to contain the remains of the babies that died in Cádiz hospitals. The majority from the Zamacola are interred at the San José de Cádiz cemetery.
Of course this is not possible for all the families. When Cristina Díaz Carrasco first hit the Spanish national headlines over the alleged death at birth of her brother in La Línea’s hospital in 1967 it was discovered there was no record of his birth, death or interment and his supposed grave had disappeared. When a family in Algeciras opened the niche of their baby son who is said to have died in La Línea hospital after the family were involved in a car crash it was found to contain just a t-shirt. To open a grave at any time is a traumatic experience for those involved - for the grieving families it could be very traumatic indeed.
Anadir also wants the prosecutor to establish a free DNA bank in the province so that the remains found can be tested against surviving family members. Whilst some tombs could be empty it is suspected that in some cases the healthy baby was substituted for another that died and given to that family, probably purchased. In that case the tombs could contain the remains of the baby from the adoptive family.
If the Cádiz prosecutor agrees to these demands then the province will become the pioneer and this example will almost certainly be followed throughout Andalucía. In Sevilla, Granada and Huelva there are other cases coming to light and there too signatures are being collected for action.
The number of suspected cases in La Línea and wider Cádiz now is in the region of 300 although those that have been formulated in to official reports stand at about half of this total.