Eva “Evita” Peron was the most powerful and influential woman in the history of Argentina. In fact, no other woman in the history of Latin America was able to obtain so much power. Evita was an idol of the Argentine people, obtaining the adoration of her audience.
Maria Eva Duarte Peron was born poor, so she barely received an education. An illegitimate daughter of a servant, Eva was born in La Union, a small town near Los Toldos. When she turned 15, she ran with a tango singer to Buenos Aires. He left her and Eva soon found work as an actress.
Even though life in Buenos Aires was not simple for Eva, she managed to get a job at the Radio Belgrano. Eva was an intelligent woman, so she soon received her own radio show. Actually, her show began to be so popular in Argentina that Eva was nicknamed Senorita Radio.
Eva met Juan Domingo Peron in 1944. She fall in love with him and the two became lovers. Soon, Peron was forced to resign from his position at the Ministry of Labor and was imprisoned. To help Peron, Eva used her radio show to talk about his imprisonment as an injustice, presenting Peron as a great leader. Eva even walked to some of the most important unions in the city to get support.
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered to the Plaza de Mayo to ask for Peron to be released. Only one week later, Eva and Juan formally married. From that moment, Eva started to be a great help for Peron’s political career. A year after the events, Juan Peron was elected the president of Argentina, enjoying huge popular support.
Part of this support came from Evita’s work to help the poor. Her fame and charm even reached Europe, where Evita spread the same message based on the idea of having less rich people and less poor people.
After Peron won his presidential election, Evita even spoke to the nation, something no other wife of a President has ever done. She claimed that women should be allowed to vote, as well.
Still, Evita was also criticized for the huge sums of money she spent on jewelry and clothes. She was even featured on the cover of Time magazine, which was later banned in Argentina for writing that Evita Peron was born illegitimate.
A tragic moment in the history of Argentina, took place on July 26, 1952, when Evita Peron died of cancer, two years after her diagnosis. She was only 33 years old. Everyone knew that she was ill, as Evita never tried to hide it. After her death, people crowded at the presidential palace, while the streets were filled with people grieving the death of their First Lady.
It is believed that Peron was devastated after the death of wife, bringing an expert to mummify her body. Still, in 1955 Peron was removed from power by a military coup, which sent Evita’s body to Italy, where it remained for 16 years, under a false name. In 1971, Peron recovered the body, keeping it in his house for 3 years. After his death, in 1974, Isabel Peron, his wife, became the first female President of the country and finally the body of Evita was buried.
Still, the influence of Argentina’s iconic first lady did not stop after her death. Even today, at more than 60 years after her death, the legacy of Evita Peron is still remembered. Evita was admired and beloved and many people still think of her as a quasi-saint.
Her life even inspired Hollywood to make a movie about Evita, role interpreted by Madonna. What do you think about Evita Peron and her legacy?
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