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News > Argentina

Argentina's Evita Symbolizes the Dignity of the Humble

  • Evita Peron during a meeting with miners.

    Evita Peron during a meeting with miners. | Photo: Twitter/ @RxpVanesa

Published 26 July 2022
Opinion

The Argentine status quo never forgave Evita for her tenacious working-class conscience and turned her into an enemy to be persecuted even after she was dead.

On July 26, 1952, Eva Peron died at the age of 33 after battling cancer for months. Seventy years after that event, Argentines still fondly remember their “Evita”, who has become the eternal symbol of the dignity and courage of the humble

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On Tuesday, President Alberto Fernandez also remembered Evita acknowledging "her conviction to continue working for the people and with the people."

"I know you will pick up my name and carry it as a flag to victory," said Evita, a charismatic woman remembered for her passionate speeches in favor of the Argentine working class and against Imperialism.

Eva Maria Duarte was born in Los Toldos city, in the province of Buenos Aires, on May 7, 1919. Dreaming of becoming an actress, she left her humble home at the age of 16 and moved to Buenos Aires. At the capital city, she worked as a radio broadcaster and became one of the founders of the Argentine Radio Syndicate.

Although Evita managed to be part of some plays at the Eva Franco Company, theatre was not what immortalized her. She married Juan Peron, a progressive colonel who was elected president in 1946.

As First Lady, Evita worked hard to gain recognition of women's right to vote and be elected to public office. She created the Peronist Women's Movement, from which she fought hard against large corporations and conservative elites.

"Among popular classes, Evita has become the heroine who defends unprecedented legislation for workers. The most conservative feel a visceral hatred for her, in which they mix class contempt, machismo, and fear of her unlimited power," La Vanguardia outlet recalled.

The Argentine status quo never forgave Evita for her tenacious working-class conscience and turned her into an enemy to be persecuted even after she was dead.

After the 1955 coup, Evita's body, which was being encapsulated in the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), was kidnapped and disappeared by the military.

They feared that if Evita's body "fell into the hands of the Peronist resistance, a revolt would break out and set the entire country on fire. The coup plotters were determined to disappear her body but differed on how to do it," La Vanguardia explained.

Some of military even proposed burning Evita's body or throwing it into the sea to get rid of the most powerful symbol raised by Argentine workers.

"I have two honors: the love of my people and the hatred of the oligarchs," Eva Peron said in one of her fiery speeches amid thousands of those who have nothing, "Los Descamisados" (The Shirtless Ones).

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