Good day, fellas! We are going to talk about Eva Perón, the greatest female leader in Argentina, also known as Evita. This name might ring a bell, maybe because of the performance of Madonna as Evita in the musical has her name. She sings “Don’t cry for me, Argentina / The truth is I never left you / All through my wild days / My mad existence / I kept my promise / Don’t keep your distance”. Argentina is wild and Evita was someone connected to what the country needed. But I’m not going to skip the whole story of Eva Perón. Keep on reading, babies!
When was Eva Perón born?
Eva María Duarte, Evita’s maiden name, was born in 1919, May 7th in Los Toldos, Buenos Aires province. Many argue which was the actual place, maybe because Eva belongs everywhere. She was the daughter of Juan Duarte, an important politician of her town and Juana Ibarguren, a woman of humble origins. Eva was raised in the countryside, along with cows, little birds and green pastures. While she was growing up, she wanted to become an actress. In order to do so, she left Los Toldos and went to Buenos Aires, the capital city of Argentina.
Eva Perón, the actress before the leader
Eva Perón, the greatest female leader in Argentina, was first a beautiful actress. She would smile all the time and acted on radio shows, movies and plays. She had positive reviews from media and was making a name in the industry, until one night, she met the man who would change her life: Juan Domingo Perón.
From Eva Duarte to Evita Perón
Juan Domingo Perón recalled the night that he met Eva as destiny. Call it serendipity or what you want, but the moment they saw each other they knew they were in love. After a couple of months, they were living together and Eva decided to embark on a political life. In the autobiographical book La razón de mi vida (The reason of my life), she narrates that it was Perón who made her believe that another way of leadership was possible: peronismo.
What is peronismo?
Peronismo was the name of the movement that Juan Domingo Perón started in 1945 that involved and recognized all the social classes as part of their flag. Evita would say that “where there is a need, a right is born” and Perón and she would commit their life to make that happen. There are thousands of ramifications of peronismo and we could talk about it for hours, but I want to focus on Eva, which, as you can see, had an intense and brave life of her own.
Why is Eva Perón famous?
Eva Perón was famous because of her love for people, that is why she was named “Evita”, in a loving manner. She loved being surrounded by children, women, everyone. In 1948, she created Fundación Eva Perón (Eva Perón Foundation). Through this organization, she built hospitals, summer camps for kids, she gave scholarships for students, loans for houses and so much more. In 1949, the Partido Peronista Femenino (Feminine Peronist Party) started to struggle, along with different political parties, to have woman’s suffrage. Two years afterwards, the Evita law (or law 13.010) allowed women to vote. We owe that to her and many awesome women, like Alicia Moreau de Justo.
Why did Eva Perón die?
The last years of Eva Perón, the greatest female leader in Argentina, were hard. She did not stop, even though she was dealing with a severe cervical cancer. In Evita’s last speech, she said: “I did not want or want anything for me. My glory is and will always be Perón’s shield and my people flag and even though I leave on the way pieces of my life, I know that you will gather my name and will take it as a flag to victory.” At the age of 33, she passed away in the cruellest winter of the country. Many hated her and two million people cried for ten days. Her corpse was kidnapped for 16 years and now you can find her remains in Recoleta cemetery.
A poem about Eva Perón
I wanted to share with you an excerpt of a beautiful poem in Eva Perón’s honor, it’s called “Volveré y seré millones” by José María Castiñeira de Dios:
Toda mi vida es un río
que anda rodeando la tierra
con ese pendón de guerra
que sólo al Pueblo confío.
¡Mi Pueblo, este signo mío,
este amor sin más razones!
Presa entre sus cerrazones,
y porque soy libre y fuerte
YO VOLVERÉ DE LA MUERTE.
VOLVERÉ Y SERÉ MILLONES.
All my life is a river
that surrounds the soil
with that action flag
that only to the People I trust.
My People, this sign of mine,
this love with no further reasons!
Locked in their obstinations,
and because I am free and strong
I WILL COME BACK FROM DEATH.
I WILL COME BACK AND BE MILLIONS.
Just to wrap things up
I hope you enjoy this article. Here you can find more information about Evita, and please, do not hesitate to check our amazing and free Spanish lessons at Wanderlust! See you soon, amigues!
Featured image credits: Annemarie Heinrich.