San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Salvadoran Family Reunites 26 Years after Separation

SAN SALVADOR – The first thing Rubia Sibrian and her mother did was embrace when they were reunited 26 years after being separated because of El Salvador’s 1980-92 civil war.

Rubia, now 29, was only 6 years old the last time she saw her mother.

Margarita Zamora, of the humanitarian organization Pro Busqueda, the association that arranged the reunion, said that the meeting between the two women was held Sept. 18 in Las Margaritas, in the western province of Sonsonate.

“It was a very emotional thing for both the mother and for Rubia, who – since being separated – had to live with several families, always with the hope of one day meeting her family again,” said Zamora, whose group searches for people lost during the country’s internal conflict.

Rubia Sibrian was born Feb. 25, 1977, at La Hacienda in the northern province of Chalatenango. She lived there with her parents, María Dora Sibrian and Francisco Rauda, and her older sisters Areli, Mirian and María.

According to Pro Busqueda’s reports, in 1980 the Salvadoran public was living with the anxiety of the constant confrontations between the guerrillas and army troops, and a group of paramilitaries captured Rubia’s father and accused him of collaborating with the rebels.

Rauda was murdered and a few days later his body was found in an abandoned house.

María Dora, fearing for her life and the lives of her daughters, decided to leave the area and find work elsewhere. She took one of the girls with her and left the others in the care of a neighbor, but years passed and the ongoing war made it impossible for her to return to the area.

The neighbors died and the girls were taken in by other people.

Zamora said that Rubia was taken in by a family in the Quezaltepeque region, in the central province of La Libertad, but after that she had to go live with yet another family.

María Dora Sibrian got in touch with Pro Busqueda to learn the whereabouts of her daughter and the investigation bore fruit, aided in part by the fact that Rubia never changed her name during the years with the other families.

Pro Busqueda was founded in August 1994 by the Rev. Jon Cortina, a Spanishborn Jesuit who died last December.

Between 1994 and last June, Pro Busqueda received 782 requests to find children who went missing during the civil war, of which they have managed to solve 317 cases and reunite 180 families.


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