January 28, 2023

Who was Eva Perón and what did she do in Argentina?

Read Time:4 Minute, 27 Second


(CNN Spanish) — On posters in big cities and tattoos, on the facade of the Ministry of Health in Buenos Aires, in countless movies, novels and plays, on the 100-peso bill, in portraits in homes, public offices and unions, in the speech everyday; Eva Perón continues to have a strong presence in Argentine society —and supporters and detractors— 70 years after her death.

But who exactly was “Evita” —as she was known in the streets— and what did she do in Argentina?

Biography

Eva María Duarte was born on May 7, 1919 in Los Toldos, province of Buenos Aires, in a low-income family. She had four brothers.

In 1935 she traveled to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, and made her debut as an actress in the Eva Franco company: between 1936 and 1942 she played various roles in film, theater and radio.

In 1944, at an event to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake in San Juan, he met Colonel Juan Domingo Perón, who at that time held the positions of Secretary of Labor and Welfare and Minister of War in the de facto governments of Pedro Ramírez. and Edelmiro Julian Farrell. They were married on October 22, 1945.

Eva Duarte de Perón began her political career —in defense of the rights of women and the most vulnerable sectors— accompanying her husband on his political tours and in the 1946 presidential campaign, which Perón won (he assumed the presidency on June 4 of that year).

Evita’s photographic legacy 6:19

In 1947, a law promoted by Evita was approved that granted the vote to women —the first vote took place in 1951—and that same year the construction of Ciudad Evita, a social housing complex for workers, and the creation of the Eva Perón Foundation controlled by the first lady, were announced.

Eva Perón fainted in 1950, and subsequent medical tests revealed cancer. Due to her health problems, in 1951 she announced that she would not accompany Perón in the presidential formula —as expected— in the elections, and she published her famous book “The reason of my life”.

On July 26, 1952, Eva María Duarte de Perón died of cervical cancer. She was 33 years old.

What did “Evita” do?

Argentina had signed the Act of Chapultepec of 1945, that urged to seek women’s suffrage, but decisive progress had not yet been made, except for the claim in previous decades of women suffragists and socialist and communist sectors.

How did you know that Evita had cancer? 1:24

Eva Perón, already first lady of Argentina, promoted the female suffrage law that she presented in 1946 and was approved in 1947, and the concepts of legal equality of spouses and shared parental authority, which were incorporated into article 37 of the Constitution promoted by Perón in 1949 (later repealed after the military coup of 1955).

In 1949 he also founded the Women’s Peronist Party, which he chaired until his death.

It also defended the rights of the most vulnerable sectors and promoted social programs: within the framework of the Eva Perón Foundation, educational institutions, hospitals, the famous School of Nursing and food stores were created.

Because of her work she became known as the “standard bearer of the humble” and the “mother of the shirtless”, which in Argentina was used at that time to name to very poor people.

Torchlight march for the 100th anniversary of Evita’s birth 0:47

Supporters and detractors

From her rise as first lady and even after her death in 1952, Eva Perón provoked both devotion from her followers and strong criticism from her detractors, a situation that continues to this day.

Their tomb in the cemetery of La Recoleta, in the city of Buenos Aires, she continues to be adorned with fresh flowers and messages from her supporters, and her figure continues to inspire artistic expressions: the series “Santa Evita, based in turn on the novel by the writer Tomás Eloy Martínez, opens this Tuesday .

Many will remember, especially outside of Argentina, the popular Broadway musical “Evita”, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, which had its conematographic version in 1996, with the leading role of Madonna. Based on the highly critical biography of Eva Perón published in 1952 by Mary Main, neither of the two works is celebrated by the Peronists.

What is Peronism? We’ll explain in a minute 1:20

And it is that Evita is, at the height of former President Perón, a symbol of Peronism, one of the most important political movements in the history of Argentina: the current president, Alberto Fernández, belongs to the same party, as does his vice president and former President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

Thus, the critical sectors of the Perón government, whom they considered an authoritarian and populist leader who sympathized with fascism, also charged against the figure of Evita: they questioned the Peronist government for the censorship of the press and the persecution of opponents, among other things. issues.

Three years after Evita’s death, the anti-Peronist sectors, which had the support of a large part of Argentina’s armed forces, finally overthrew Perón in 1955, although he returned to power briefly in 1973, before his death a year later. .



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