Personality of Evita Peron.
“I will return and I will be a million.”
María Eva Duarte de Perón was popularly known as Eva Perón, Evita Perón, or simply as Evita. She was the First Lady of Argentina by virtue of being the second wife of Juan Perón. She had previously worked as a model, radio actress, and movie star in several media houses in Buenos Aires.
Although she was a woman from limited resources, she managed to achieve a level of success that was unprecedented in Latin American history. Her ambition and determination drove her from obscure poverty to the heights of national and international prestige. Within the short span of her film career, she became a successful and highly paid actress in films and radio dramas in Argentina. Furthermore, her financial independence enabled her to become the co-founder of the Argentine Radio Syndicate (ARS) and move to Recoleta, an exclusive neighbourhood in the city.
Her sheer force of will convinced and inspired her to create a public image; as a result, Eva propelled herself to idol status in the eyes of ordinary people, eliciting admiration by the way she presented herself.
Eva’s political career began in 1943 when she co-founded the Argentine Radio Syndicate and developed further after meeting Juan Perón during a gala concert organised to help victims of the devastating 1944 earthquake. She had great concern for the most disadvantaged members of society and that dedication motivated her to establish the María Eva Duarte de Perón Foundation, which was later renamed the Eva Perón Foundation, in 1948.
Eva managed to empower the masses and influence the political landscape of her country, causing many in Argentina to laud her as a heroine. María Lagorio, an information specialist in the Argentine Embassy in Washington DC, even ranked Eva in the same league as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
However, Eva’s life was full of controversy as it was a mix of a glamorous image and professed sympathies. Although she managed to win her followers’ loyalty and admiration – even being viewed by some as the country’s spiritual mother – many simultaneously viewed her public persona as a blend of social conscience and ostentatious style.
Eva’s health changed following a fainting spell in public, said at the time to be due to anaemia, but actually an early indication cervical cancer. The First Lady died in 1952 without knowing the seriousness her illness because her husband kept it hidden from her. Alongside widespread disbelief that she could have passed away so soon, the nation mourned for two and a half days and more than three million attended her funeral.
“Suffer little children and come unto me.”
Evita Peron’s Personality
Eva Perón would likely be classified as a ‘Promoter’ according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test. The former actress and First Lady of Argentina was a woman of action. She was ever optimistic, as demonstrated by her determination to succeed: for instance, while her mother was planning to marry her off to local bachelors, Eva was busy with school plays and concerts, preparing to achieve her dream of becoming a renowned actress.
Her daring was also shown when, at the age of just fifteen, she left her poverty-stricken village and moved to Buenos Aires, set on building her career in film and radio. Eva had a hearty appetite for the finer things, and she stated that her motivation for leaving her village for Buenos Aires was because most people that had visited the city described it as a marvellous place where you could become wealthy. Her desire for the good life pushed her to survive in a new city without connections or formal education, and despite the contemporary period of great economic depression leading to increased competition as many migrated to the city in search of work.
Upon becoming First Lady, she turned herself into a romanticised image of a glamorous Latin American woman, creating an aura of sophistication and style by adorning herself with fur and jewels to demonstrate the social status and significance that she had risen to despite her humble background.
Her go-getter spirit enabled her to get a job at a firm called Candilejas; this was a role in its radio drama Muy Bien, aired on the country’s most important radio station, Radio El Mundo (World Radio). Eva went on to sign a contract with Radio Belgrano in the same year, which saw her playing various famous women in the historical drama programme Great Women of History.
Eva’s passion and determination propelled her to the point of co-owning Radio El Mundo with Pablo Raccioppi. By 1943 she topped the ranks of the highest-paid radio actresses in Argentina. Having attained both power and influence, her financial stability enabled her to enjoy the finer things she had been seeking when she left home.
Having had her own experiences of feeling abandoned and discriminated against, Eva fought several social battles on behalf of the poor. Passionate as she was about the conditions they faced, she was seen in public embracing children and weeping.
Eva became a powerful figure as the First Lady of Argentina between 1946 and 1952, both loved and hated at the same time. The announcement of her death on 26 July 1952 was therefore met with the sounds of both sorrow and celebration. People crowded the streets in a public display of mourning from the day of her death to the day of her burial on 11 August 1952.
On the other hand, those that disliked Eva were highly critical of her work and its true intentions. Eva’s charitable organisation was widely applauded by the poorer people for building hospitals, schools, and orphanages, and for distributing medicines, money, and clothes to those in need. Others, however, saw the motivation behind the highly publicised work as being a public relations opportunity for the First Lady. Additionally, there was intense debate about the true purpose of the Eva Perón foundation, with some judging it to be a scheme to funnel government funds into Juan Perón’s Swiss bank account and to launder money.
Biographer Mary Main states that although Eva was not an evil person, her actions were evil. She appeared to live a fantastical life of her own creation; indeed, that was the reason that many were delighted when they heard she had died.
“Shadows cannot see themselves in the mirror of the sun.”
Evita Peron’s Early Years
1. Evita Peron’s Parents and Family
María Eva Duarte was the daughter of a wealthy rancher called Juan Duarte, who was the descendant of French Basque immigrants, and Juana Ibarguren, a descendant of Spanish Basque immigrants. Eva was the youngest of five children, with three older sisters and one older brother: Blanca, Elisa, Juan Ramón, and Erminda. Eva’s parents were not legally married because Duarte had another wife and family in a nearby city; however, this was not uncommon in contemporary rural Argentine culture.
When Eva was a year old, her father abandoned the family and returned to his legal wife, while Ibarguren relocated with her children to Junín, one of the most impoverished places in Argentina. Although Duarte left an official document acknowledging that the children were his – thereby allowing them to continue using his surname – he withdrew any financial support. Since Duarte had been the sole breadwinner, Eva’s family had to move to a one-roomed home; to make ends meet, Ibaguren and her three eldest children took on work including sewing for neighbours and cooking at nearby farms. This turn of events exposed them to abject poverty, discrimination, and isolation.
With time, Eva’s brother Juan managed to support the family, and, with his financial assistance, they were able to move into a bigger house that they eventually turned into a boarding house. While her eldest sister Blanca became a teacher, Eva was young enough that she was still in school, and she frequently took part in plays and concerts throughout her education.
In 1926, Eva’s father died in a car accident. Eva was only six years old at the time. Although Ibaguren and the children travelled to the funeral, some reports indicate that, after paying their respects, they were all quickly directed out of the church at the request of Duarte’s wife; as his legal wife, her wishes were respected.
2. Evita Peron’s Birth
Controversy exists about when María Eva Duarte was born. Her baptismal certificate states that she was born on 7 May 1919, while records at Junín’s civil registry indicates that her birth was recorded on 7 May 1922. The baptismal certificate bore the name Eva María Ibarguren.
On the other hand, it is reported that Eva may have forged her birth certificate in advance of her marriage in 1945. It is believed that this was an attempt to distance herself from her impoverished background and the stigma of being born illegitimate. Whatever the case, it is known that Eva was born in Los Toldos, which was a small town of Pampas, and was the youngest of five children.
“When the rich think about the poor, they have poor ideas.”
Evita Peron’s Childhood Dream
Eva and her mother had very different ideas about Eva’s future. Her mother planned to marry her off to a local man, perhaps to avoid any risk of Eva facing the same issues she had by entering a relationship with an already married man. On the other hand, Eva dreamt of becoming a famous actress. Deeply engrossed in plays and concerts, her passion was rewarded when, in 1933, she was assigned a role in Arriba Estudiantes (Students Arise). Participating in this patriotic school play only served to strengthen her determination to become a renowned actress.
The transition to Buenos Aires
In 1934, at the age of just fifteen, Eva travelled to Buenos Aires to advance her acting career. As with her birth, this journey is somewhat shrouded in mystery. Some claim that Eva ran off with tango singer Agustin Magaldi during a short-lived relationship with him; however, this is disputed by two of her biographers, historians , as there is no record to indicate that Magaldi visited Junín that year.
Eva’s sisters, on the other hand, claim that Eva left for the city with her mother to attend a radio station audition, with Ibarguren later organising for her to stay with the Bustamante family, who were their family friends. Another theory is that she might have escaped to the city alone and stayed in boarding houses or tenements; this idea is lent credence by the fact that Eva struggled to survive due to her lack of connections and formal education.
“In government, one actress is enough.”
Evita Peron’s Acting Career
Eva’s career began with work as a model, touring nationally with a theatre company, and acting in some B-movie melodramas. She was hired by the Candilejas company in 1942 for a role in radio drama Muy Bien, which was aired by Radio El Mundo (World Radio), Argentina’s leading radio station. Later that same year, Eva won a five-year contract with Radio Belgrano, which allowed her to play the roles of prominent French actress Sarah Bernhardt, Queen Elizabeth I of England, and Russian Empress Catherine the Great in the historical drama programme Great Women of History.
The young actress did not stop there, instead partnering with Pablo Raccioppi to co-own Radio El Mundo. As the nation’s highest paid radio actress, Eva could now afford to make such investments. Raccioppi reportedly did not like Eva; however, he could work with her because he considered her to be ‘thoroughly dependable’.
However, Eva’s acting career was relatively short-lived, starting in 1934 and ending in 1945 when she left the industry to marry Juan Perón. One of her final films, La cabalgata del circo, sees Eva play the role of a naïve country girl competing with an older woman. Although her films afforded her financial stability, they were not hugely successful.
In 1943, Eva co-founded the Argentine Radio Syndicate (ARA), which Juan Perón used immensely during his campaign for the presidency. Musician and composer Enrique Discepolo also used this radio to host political commentary shows.
“I am only a simple woman who lives to serve Peron and my people.”
Evita Peron’s Relationship with Juan Peron
On 15 January 1944, a devastating earthquake hit the region of San Juan, resulting in the deaths of 10,000 of the provincial capital’s inhabitants, as well as leaving thousands more injured and around 90% of its buildings seriously damaged or destroyed completely. Colonel Juan Perón, then the Secretary of Labour but preparing a presidential bid, organised a weeklong festival in Buenos Aires to raise funds for the victims and the reconstruction, with top radio and film stars invited to take part. The festival culminated in a benefit gala at Luna Park Stadium. It was there that Eva and Perón met; they left together at two o’clock in the morning.
Eva and Perón’s relationship began immediately following what she would later refer to as that ‘marvellous day’. Perón was a widower, having lost his first wife Aurelia Tizón to cancer in 1938, and was forty-eight years old compared to Eva’s age of twenty-four. Nevertheless, they appeared to quickly form a strong bond, and she wholeheartedly supported his presidential campaign.
Eva was elected as the president of the broadcast performers’ union following its formation in 1944; as the drive to form the union had originated with Perón, the appointment of his mistress as its president could be seen as a gesture of political goodwill. She also initiated a daily programme called Toward a Better Future which she used to lobby for Perón. Using the form of a soap opera, the programme focused on Perón’s achievements, and even included his own speeches.
“My biggest fear in life is to be forgotten.”
Argentinian politician and army general Juan Domingo Perón was born in Lobos on 8 October 1895 to Mario Tomás Perón and Juana Sosa Toledo, who were of modest means. Tall and athletic, Perón joined military school at the age of sixteen and later went on to serve in various positions in the army, including being appointed as a military attaché the Argentine Embassy in Chile. Perón married Aurelia Tizón in 1929 while serving as a captain. Following her death in 1938, he took the opportunity afforded by his career to travel to Italy, where he witnessed its development between 1938 and 1940.
After returning to Argentina in 1941, Perón joined Grupe de Oficales Unidos (GOU), a group of military officers that operated in secrecy. The group staged a successful coup in 1943 – later also known as the Revolution of ’43 – and Perón was subsequently appointed Secretary of Labour and Social Security, also taking on the position of Minister of War shortly thereafter. As a favourite of President Edelmiro J. Farrell, he later went on to be appointed Vice President, a position he held for fifteen months between 1944 and 1945.
Although Perón was well-liked by labourers – often referred to as ‘the shirtless’ – and the military, his popularity was not universal. However, efforts to oust him proved unsuccessful; a coup by rival navy and army officers in October 1945, for instance, was defeated when the labour unions rallied against them, leading to Perón’s release a few days later. Later that night, he used Eva’s radio programme to address Argentinians and make promises that reinforced his power. He was ultimately elected President of Argentina the following year
Eva became Perón’s second wife in late 1945 and strongly supported him first in his presidential bid and later in his presidency itself from 1946 to 1952. The masses came to view her as both Perón’s spouse and political partner through her support for his policies and administration. Perón’s presidency – which endorsed a third way that was neither communist nor capitalist – is remembered for shaping Argentina’s economy, but also bringing restrictions to civil liberties. Although scorned by the elite due to her impoverished background, Eva grew to be adored by the less fortunate, for whom she seemed a symbol of hope. In 1951, Perón has the law changed to allow for him to be re-elected; however, his second term was short-lived, as he was overthrown in 1955 and went into exile in Spain. He was politically active during his eighteen years abroad, which continued to shape the Perónist movement. The election of Héctor José Cámpora as President of Argentina in 1973 led to Perón’s return from Europe. It was firmly believed that Cámpora was President in name only, with Perón wielding the real power behind the scenes; indeed, this appeared to be verified when Cámpora resigned shortly after Perón’s return, with Perón ultimately being elected for a third term within months. His third wife, María Estela Martinez, popularly known as Isabel Perón, was also elected as the country’s Vice President. After ten years across three presidential terms, Perón suffered a fatal heart attack and died in 1974, resulting in Isabel becoming the President. Perón’s body was initially interred in the chapel of the presidential palace, before being moved after two years to his family’s vault in La Chacarita Cemetery in Buenos Aires.
“If I have to apply five turns to the screw each day for the happiness of Argentina, I will do it.”
Evita Peron’s Marriage
Eva and Perón were married on 21 October 1945, just days after his release from arrest. Following his election as President in mid-1946, Eva used her position as First Lady of Argentina to focus on improving the lives of the poor.
There is no evidence that Perón and Evita had children, but they appeared to be fond of them. Pictures exist of three children kneeling to pray, with a caption indicating that they were praying to an image of the Holy Virgin fixed on the wall as taught by their mother. It also went on to state that they never forgot to pray for Eva Perón, who was their Spiritual Mother. In another photo, Juan Perón is shown shaking hands with a team of female athletes in their uniforms, its caption stating that Perón loved children.
Evita Peron’s Support for her Husband’s Political Career
As First Lady, Eva supported her husband during his first term in office and many changes were credited to her influence, such as Argentine women gaining the right to vote in 1947. Eva then created and headed the Perónist Women’s Party, which focused on women, the disabled, and the poor. She fought for equality and social justice, feeling that the ruling class owned the poor, for they had taken everything from them unjustly.
Eva championed legislation in favour of the rights of women and their children. For instance, children born out of wedlock lacked the legal rights of those born to married parents. Having had first-hand experience of this herself, Eva was well aware of the discrimination and stigma faced by those in this situation. Indeed, it is believed that she altered her own birth records ahead of her wedding in 1945 to conceal the fact her parents had not been married; this eventually led to the announcement that she had only been thirty years old at the time of her death, rather than thirty-three. This awareness led her to influence legal changes so that ‘illegitimate’ children would henceforth be referred to as ‘natural’ children.
In 1947, Eva embarked on what came to be known as the ‘Rainbow Tour’, travelling across Spain, Italy, France, and Switzerland. The goodwill trip enabled her to meet Pope Pius XII, Francisco Franco, and Charles de Gaulle. Reactions to her visits were mixed. In Spain, she was well received, and handed out money to poor children. In Switzerland, however, she encountered protestors who threw stones and tomatoes at her. Many in Europe distrusted the fascist influences on Perón’s rule and frowned upon his relationship with Nazi war criminals; others were disappointed by what they perceived to be Eva’s ostentatious attention seeking through her charitable activities.
Although not officially appointed, Eva ran the ministries of labour and health. Her popularity among the poor grew quickly, as she was viewed as working hard to support them. However, as beloved as she was by some, she was also hated in equal measure, particularly by the elite. In 1951, it was suggested that she run for the post of Vice President in the upcoming Presidential election. However, her rapidly declining health, as well as opposition to her candidature by the army, resulted in her having to turn down the opportunity to run.
Eva made her last public appearance in June 1952, a month before her death, to attend her husband’s second inauguration. Despite her passing, her fame lived on, with the story of a girl from a poor background rising to political power inspiring countless films, plays, and books.
“I know that, like every woman of the people, I have more strength than I appear to have.”
Juan and Eva Perón had not been active Christians before they got married. However, the couple became actively involved in Catholicism during the first term of Juan’s presidency. Thus, before 1949, the couple conciliated the Church by reinforcing its priorities in different ways.
Perón reinforced Catholic religious education in schools through a pronouncement named the Religious Education Decree that took effect in 1947. Furthermore, the President increased state funding directed towards the ecclesiastical budget. He embraced Christian social thinking and made it the official government doctrine, appointing persons who upheld Catholic teachings in his government.
However, Perón abandoned Christian social thinking in 1949 when his party adopted its own doctrine; Perónists preferred this ideology, referred to as justicialismo, over the Christian-based one because it promoted spiritual unity within the government, rather than with the Church.
Despite this shift, Perón maintained a good relationship with the leaders of the Catholic Church. Following Eva’s death, he leant towards a civic sense of religion that could unite Perónist philosophy with the immense reverence the public held for the former First Lady; she had become a central figure in Argentina, and her death was met with an almost hysterical grief from many. Due to the tension that arose after her death, Perón’s government came into conflict with the Church’s leadership.
It was also discovered that the First Lady had penned a bitter message to the Church a few months before her death, in which she had complained of a lack of connection between Argentines and the clerical hierarchy, denouncing Church leaders as cold. She further accused them of indifference to peoples’ plights and pointed out that she had never witnessed love and generosity among its members. Eva therefore rejected the assertion that religion is ‘the opiate of the masses’, instead insisting that religion should liberate its members and uphold the value of all being equal in the eyes of God.
Eva Peron Foundation
Eva established the María Eva Duarte de Perón Foundation in 1948, renaming it as the Eva Perón Foundation after two years. The main objectives of this foundation were to build new schools, holiday facilities, nursing homes, and clinics. Together with 14,000 workers, Eva dedicated her time to assisting those in need, including the poor, the elderly, and homeless women and children. She often worked extended hours to distribute money, medicine, cookware, shoes, and clothes. Her direct work with the Foundation’s beneficiaries, including kissing children and touching the sick, displayed an empathy that strengthened the public’s positive reception of her. Eva funded the Foundation using contributions and donations from taxes, levies, and unions; however, the Perón administration also pressured businesses into making donations as well.
Ciudad Evita, or Evita City, was a planned community in the Buenos Aires suburbs funded by the Foundation, thus enabling the working class to reside there. It was designed to bear the shape of her profile when observed from above, with her head facing right and her signature chignon hairstyle visible. Despite undergoing several name changes in the years following Eva’s death and Juan Perón being overthrown, the city exists again today as Ciudad Evita and is home to almost 70,000 inhabitants.
“Time is my greatest enemy.”
Evita Peron’s Sickness
Cervical cancer is a common cancer that was previously a leading cause of death for women. Despite the number of cases still diagnosed each year, survival rates have improved within recent history due to increased awareness and treatment in the early stages.
Eva’s initial symptoms were characterised by a fainting spell in public, followed by an appendectomy. Although the First Lady was receiving cancer treatment, Perón warned the doctors against telling Evita that she had cancer; instead, the doctors informed her that she had anaemia.
The public fainting episodes resumed, followed by vaginal bleeding, extreme weakness, and abdominal pains. The Argentinian doctors treated her with radium, without success. In November 1951, the First Lady was given a hysterectomy in an attempt to eliminate her cervical cancer. The surgery was undertaken by the world-renowned American cancer specialist Dr George Pack. Later, Eva was taken through radiotherapy, which gave her temporary relief by shrinking the cancer. She also underwent chemotherapy, but the outcome was devastating.
Later research has also suggested that a prefrontal lobotomy was performed on Eva a month before her death; although the aim was to reduce her pain and anxiety, it may have accelerated her decline. Juan Perón’s opponents suggest that he may have ordered the procedure as a means to silence her and control her increasingly erratic behaviour, which could have sparked a civil war. Irrespective of the motives of this surgery, Eva spent her last days in a small room in the presidential palace, and her husband rarely visited her.
“I will come again, and I will be millions.”
Evita Peron’s Death
A prominent and charismatic figure in Argentina’s history, Eva died on 26 July 1952 at the age of thirty-three. The Argentine Congress had bestowed the title of ‘Spiritual Leader of the Nation’ upon her on her third-third birthday; as such, she was accorded a state funeral, which would usually be reserved for heads of state, and a full Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.
Despite her detractors, many people spent days outside the President’s house in a show of mourning. All shops selling flowers in Buenos Aires ran out of stock, leading to flowers having to be imported from as far as Chile in order to supply the gathered crowds. Despite Eva not holding a political office, all official government activity was suspended for two days and all flags were flown at half-mast for ten days.
There were different interpretations of the mourning that Eva Perón was accorded. While some individuals viewed it as authentic, others perceived it as one of the Perónist regime’s passion plays, claiming that Perón’s administration enforced the daily observance with a radio announcement.
Eva’s body was displayed at the Ministry of Labour, with more than three million attending her mass and funeral. Dr. Pedro Ara had embalmed her body, reportedly at her husband’s request; by replacing her blood with glycerine to help preserve her organs, Dr. Ara was able to give Eva the appearance of sleeping, rather than death.
“I am only a sparrow amongst a great flock of sparrows.”
1. The Disappearance of Evita’s Body
Eva’s body was stolen after the 1955 coup that ousted his husband from the presidency, and her body disappeared for more than sixteen years. General Aramburu, the man believed to be responsible for the coup that overthrew Perón and the disappearance of Evita’s body, was executed in 1970.In 1971, a letter written by General Aramburu was handed over to President Lanusse, indicating that Eva’s body was buried in Milan under a false name. The body was exhumed, flown to Buenos Aires to undergo examination, and was subsequently sent back to Perón, who was in exile in Madrid.
2. The Return of Evita’s Body
When Perón received Eva’s body, he and his third wife María Estela – commonly known as Isabel – decided to display the corpse in their dining room. Isabel would comb Eva’s hair and occasionally lie atop or inside the coffin in the belief that her proximity to Eva may transfer some of her spiritual energy or political power to her. This was in line with a nineteenth century belief embraced mostly by political leaders hoping to become a future head of state.
After Perón’s death, Eva’s remains were repatriated in November 1974, with the couple being placed beside one another at the presidential palace in Olivos
3. Final Burial of Evita Peron
The military handed over Eva’s remains to her sisters Blanca Duarte de Álvarez Rodríguez and Erminda Duarte for burial when Isabel Perón was overthrown in March 1976. Eva Perón was finally laid to rest at a maiden family tomb located in Cementerio de la Recoleta. By this time, Eva’s brother Juan Ramón Duarte had died on 9 April 1953, sister Elisa Duarte de Arrieta had died on 7 May 1967, and her mother on 11 February 1971.
Juan Peron’s Wives
1. Aurelia Tizon
Aurelia was born on 18 March 1908 in Argentina. A teacher by profession, she met Juan Perón in 1925 and married him in 1928. She was nicknamed Potota by Perón, and many described her as a smart but very sensitive woman. Aurelia loved drawing and painting; she also read English very well and even helped her husband to understand English military textbooks.
Aurelia passed away at the age of thirty on 10 September 1938. Her death came as a result of the same cancer that killed Eva Perón in 1952.
2. Maria Estela Martinez (Isabel Peron)
Born in 1931, Isabel married Juan Perón after Eva’s death. She served as the First Lady and Vice President between 1973 and 1974, subsequently taking over the presidency upon the death of her husband.
Her parents were Carmelo Martínez and María Olguín. Although legally known as María Estela, she adopted her confirmation name of Isabel in the early 1950s after dropping out of school and becoming a nightclub dancer. She met Juan Perón during his exile in Panama; attracted to her beauty, he brought her with him when he moved to Madrid, Spain, and married her in November 1961 following pressure from the Roman Catholic Church, which disapproved of their cohabitation. Isabel took on the role of intermediary between the Spanish and Argentine governments, as Perón was not permitted to return to his home country.
Following Perón’s death in 1974, Isabel served as President for two years until she was deposed by the military in 1976. Following five years of house arrest, Isabel was exiled to Spain in 1981. She had failed to win over the labour unions or gain firm support from powerful groups, resulting in increased political violence and terrorist activity. In January 2007, she was arrested in Madrid after an Argentine judge demanded that she testify in a case regarding executions and forced disappearances during her presidency; however, the Spanish courts declined to order her extradition to Argentina, followed in 2017 by the Supreme Court of Justice of Argentina dismissing the calls for her interrogation.
Evita Peron Museum
Museo Evita, or the Evita Museum, was opened in July 2002 in memory of Eva by her great-niece Cristina Alvarez Rodriguez. Located in Palermo, Buenos Aires, it is housed in a building that was used by the Eva Perón Foundation for homeless children and women. The museum displays Eva’s portraits and artistic renderings of her life, as well as historical books, videos, and posters. It also houses a collection of the designer clothing she was well-known for, including tailored suits, Dior dresses, and eye-catching jewellery. The museum has become a popular tourist attraction since its opening.
Recognised as a champion of the poor and as a helper to women, Eva’s childhood home was also transformed into a museum in 2019 to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth. Based in Los Toldos, it is known as the Casa Museo Eva Perón.
Evita Peron’s Legacy
As the focus of many Argentines’ devotion and emotion, Eva Perón is thought by many writers to have wilfully incorporated certain aspects of Mary Magdalene and the Virgin of Guadalupe into her public persona to inspire the faith of the public in her. She was also described by some as one of the shrewdest women to lead a public life in Latin America. Her early death and subsequent embalming also lent to the image of the Sleeping Beauty, adding a fairy tale tone to her status as cultural icon.
Literature shows that Eva has remained a clear figure in Argentina’s history, with her story retaining themes of revolutionary leadership and femininity, as well as more mystical elements like spiritual power. Perónist politician Cristina Kirchner has been compared to Eva after she became Argentina’s first elected female President; however, Kirchner has rejected this comparison as she feels that Eva was a unique phenomenon in the country’s history.
Although Eva’s death is not officially marked as a government holiday, her passing is commemorated by many Argentines each year. The 59th anniversary in 2011 was marked by the unveiling of two giant murals by artist Alejandro Marmo on the building facades of the Ministry of Social Development. The following year, Eva became the first woman to be featured on Argentina’s currency when coins were released in her honour; a form of Argentine currency known as ‘Evitas’ were also named in her honour. Ciudad Evita still stands outside of Buenos Aires and is home to almost 70,000 people.
Internationally, Eva has appeared in books, articles, music, biographies, and stage plays. The year 1976 saw the launch of both the musical Evita and the concept album of the same name by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice; this was later adapted into a film in 1996, with Madonna starring in the role of Eva. Eva’s dresses are also on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, in addition to another Christian Dior exhibit.
Having been appointed ‘Spiritual Leader of the Nation’ on 7 May 1952, Eva Perón remains the only person to have ever held the title to date.
“I demanded more rights for women because I know what women had to put up with.”
Evita Peron’s Criticism
Eva Perón experienced both love and hate from her countrymen. Opponents of the Perónist movement accused Juan Perón of fascism and Nazism. Eva’s visit to Spain as part of the 1947 ‘Rainbow Tour’ was criticised for its seeming support for Francisco Franco, who was seeking a political ally at the time. However, Eva’s tour was purported to be a goodwill tour, rather than a political one. Further, as a third of Argentinians have Spanish ancestry, diplomatic ties between the two countries could be presented as natural.
Others accused the Peróns of authorising the entry of Nazi war criminals to Argentina in the late 1940s in exchange for access to advanced technology that had been available in Germany during the Second World War. Conversely, Perónist supporters refuted these claims by suggesting that the Jewish population of Argentina faced less discrimination compared to Jewish populations in other countries, particularly emphasising the fact that Perón had appointed public officials of Jewish origin and opened a Perónist party branch for Jewish members. They also highlighted that rival political parties were allowed to operate during the Perónist regime.
Eva also faced criticism for her lavish lifestyle and poor background. Her love of furs, designer clothes, and jewellery were viewed by some as greed, in stark contrast to the social values she espoused. Her birth out of wedlock led to some with conservative views calling her mother Juana Ibaguren a prostitute, and the alteration of her birth records was seen by some as undermining the image she portrayed to the public.
Evita Peron’s Mottos and Quotes
Below you can find the whole collection of Evita Peron’s mottos and quotes in text form.
- I will come again, and I will be millions.
- Time is my greatest enemy.
- I am only a sparrow amongst a great flock of sparrows
- One cannot accomplish anything without fanaticism.
- To convince oneself that one has the right to live decently takes time.
- My biggest fear in life is to be forgotten.
- When the rich think about the poor, they have poor ideas.
- I demanded more rights for women because I know what women had to put up with.
- Suffer little children and come unto me.
- Shadows cannot see themselves in the mirror of the sun.”
- I know that, like every woman of the people, I have more strength than I appear to have.
- In government, one actress is enough.
- I am only a simple woman who lives to serve Peron and my people.
- Charity separates the rich from the poor; aid raises the needy and sets him on the same level with the rich.
- I am my own woman.
- Keeping books on social aid is capitalistic nonsense. I just use the money for the poor. I can’t stop to count it.
- Answer violence with violence. If one of us falls today, five of them must fall tomorrow.
- Where there is a worker, there lies a nation.
- If I have to apply five turns to the screw each day for the happiness of Argentina, I will do it.