A celebratory tour that chronicles the life of Evita…
Let us embark on a historical journey throughout Buenos Aires City that bears witness and honors the remarkable life of Argentina’s iconic Maria Eva Duarte de Peron. A lady who will always be Argentina’s First Lady.
Our Evita Experience tells a balanced story of a woman who fought her way into the dangerous Argentine political arena circa 1940s and struggled to achieve female suffrage, fair labor reforms and social welfare programs for the poor and disenfranchised.
She was the youngest of five children in the village of Los Toldos in the Province of Buenos Aires on May 7, 1919. She was the daughter of Juan Duarte and Juana Ibarguren, and sister of Elisa, Blanca, Erminda and Juan.
Following the death of her father, the family moved to the larger town of Junín, where her mother managed a boarding house. At the age of sixteen, Evita, as she was nicknamed, dropped out of high school and left for the metropolis and entertainment capital of South America – Buenos Aires.
She dreamed of being an actress although she had no training, she landed a couple of secondary roles in motion pictures and radio, where she excelled as a Radio soap-opera starlet in one of the most important stations. By 1944, Evita was making a living from acting and became a popular radio character in radios golden years.
In 1943, Eva met Colonel Juan Domingo Perón, secretary of labor and social welfare in the military government that had recently seized power and it is here the story of her meteoric rise a figure for the people begins. Eva cultivated a strong relationship with the widowed Perón, who was organizing the workers to gain political support for his presidential ambition to run for the presidency. Evita´s image and background would prove crucial to help him in this objective.
In October 1945, Perón’s ambition and dreams of free creates some dissent from his military colleagues and leads to his house arrest in the Delta. Evita rouses the people organizing the largest rally ever seen in Argentina. The masses filled the Plaza de Mayo demanding the freedom of their newfound leader-in-waiting.
Fearing a Bastille-like episode, the military had no choice but to free him. They ordered him to speak and appease the crowds. It was at this point that Evita and Peron realized their power, the power of the people.
Peron, a shrewd political operator, demanded free elections to appease the angry crowds amassing outside Casa Rosada. The military fearing chaos have little choice and accept his condition. He spoke to the thorns and felt their admiration. He knew then that nothing could stand between him and the Casa Rosada. This day is known as the day of peronist loyalty and is celebrated on the 17th of October. On October 21, 1945, Evita and Juan Perón were married and so begins one of the most important and tragic stories in Argentine political history.
Evita’s life touches all the favorite Buenos Aires barrios. We start our Evita Experience in SanTelmo at the CGT (General Workers Union), the traditional source of ‘Peronist power’ (eve today) where she Eva Duarte Peron is still revered and remembered with a portrait mural on the facade the Building as well as a constant flame to celebrate her life.
Next door is the Engineering University .This monumental structure used to house The Eva Peron Foundation, established by Evita herself in order to help the poor and her further her own political ambitions.
From San Telmo we wander to the Plaza de Mayo, site of the Casa Rosada (Pink House) and its balconies witness to Evita`s important speeches and Peronist rallies. Later, this seat of government suffered bombing by the military when during the Revolution Libertadora of 1955 that ended Peron’s first terms as president. You can still see the bullets hole on the Ministry of Economy and a plaque that reads – “The scars on this marble were the harvest of confrontation and intolerance .Their imprint on our memory will help the nation achieve a future greatness.”
Then is on to the national congress building where Evita witnessed the swearing of Peron`s second term after joining him in an open car traveling to the Pink House, the whole time supported by a harness and covered in a mink coat to hide her frame ravaged by cancer and a body so weak and unable to support her weight. Evita sadly passed away just a few days later at the peak of her popularity at the young age of 33. Congress is also where she lay in state for days on end while her faithful stood in line to get one last glimpse of their heroin.
From Congreso we travel on to Recoleta to see her monument and to visit the Duarte mausoleum where she finally lays interred at the Recoleta Cemetery.
Around her, lay many of her foe, sworn enemies of the Perons and supporters of the status quo. We mean of course the landowning aristocracy and industrialist who still fear their legacy. Nearby, on Posadas street is the apartment where Eva Duarte Peron once lived.
We finish our journey in the Evita Museum that displays videos, photos, clippings and even a newspaper with her fingerprints. Among the many prize memorabilia are her wardrobe, shoes, handbags, hats, old wallets and even her perfumes.
We can take a coffee and a snack at the museum café on the patio and our Evita ‘specialist’ will answer your questions and help you piece together the impact this iconic lady had and still has on Argentine social and political history.