Editor's Comment: The music video below, "Don't Cry for me Argentina", from the musical, "Evita", is presented in memory of María Eva Duarte de Perón the wife of Juan Perón, former elected president of Argentina. On March 24, 1976, military leaders in Argentina led by Jorge Rafael Videla deposed President Isabel Perón in a coup d'état, established a military junta known as the National Reorganization Process, and began state-sponsored violence against dissidents known as the Dirty War. A genocide followed, resulting in more than 30,000 killed and disappeared. Eva Peron was the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death from cancer at age 33 in 1952. We've taken excerpts of the biographies of Eva and Juan Perón from Wikipedia.
- Les Blough, Editor
María Eva Duarte de Perón (7 May 1919 – 26 July 1952) was the second wife of President Juan Domingo Perón (1895–1974) and served as the First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952. She is often referred to as simply Eva Perón, or by the affectionate Spanish language diminutive Evita, which literally translates into English as "Little Eva".
She was born in rural Argentina in 1919 and in 1934, at the age of 15, she went to the nation's capital of Buenos Aires, where she pursued a career as a stage, radio, and film actress. Eva met Colonel Juan Perón on January 22, 1944, in Buenos Aires during a charity event at the Luna Park Stadium to benefit the victims of an earthquake in San Juan. The two were married the following year. In 1946, Juan Perón was elected President of Argentina. Over the course of the next six years, Eva Perón became powerful within the Pro-Peronist trade unions, essentially for speaking on behalf of labor rights. She also ran the Ministries of Labor and Health, founded and ran the charitable Eva Perón Foundation, championed women's suffrage in Argentina, and founded and ran the nation's first large-scale female political party, the Female Peronist Party.
In 1951, Eva Perón accepted the Peronist nomination for the office of Vice President of Argentina. In this bid, she received great support from the Peronist political base, low-income and working class Argentines who were referred to as descamisados or "shirtless ones". However, opposition from the nation's military and elite, coupled with her declining health, ultimately forced her to withdraw her candidacy. In 1952 shortly before her death from cancer at the age of 33, Eva Perón was given the official title of "Spiritual Leader of the Nation" by the Argentine Congress. Eva Perón was given an official state funeral despite the fact that she was not an elected head of state.
Eva Perón has become a part of international popular culture, most famously as the subject of the musical Evita. Cristina Alvarez Rodriguez, Evita's great niece, claims that Evita has never left the collective conscience of Argentines. Cristina Fernandez, the first female elected President of Argentina, claims that women of her generation owe a debt to Eva for "her example of passion and combativeness".
Many women have sung beautifully, "Don't Cry for me Argentina" in the great music halls of the world. But Lea Salonga lends a passion for Argentina and understanding of Eva Perón like few others.
Lea Salonga - Don't Cry For Me Argentina (Evita)
Biographical continued ... When Juan Perón became president on June 4, 1946, his two stated goals were social justice and economic independence. U.S. policy also helped thwart Argentine growth during the Perón years. These disputes likely stemmed from the United States’ displeasure at Perón’s plans of anti-imperialist self-industrialization; by placing such embargoes on Argentina, the U.S. hoped to discourage the nation in its pursuit of becoming economically sovereign during a time when the world was divided into two spheres.
Eva Perón was instrumental as a symbol of hope to the common labourer during the first five-year plan. When she died of cancer at the age of 33 in 1952, the year of the presidential elections, the people felt they had lost an ally. Coming from humble origins, she was loathed by the elite but adored by the poor for her work with the sick, elderly, and orphans. It was due to her behind-the-scenes work that women’s suffrage was granted in 1947 and a feminist wing of the 3rd party in Argentina was formed. Simultaneous to Perón’s five-year plans flourished a women’s movement, focusing largely on the rights of women, the poor and invalids, pushed forth by Evita.
Juan Perón's third wife, Isabel Perón followed her husband's third term as president. Her political leadership in Argentina ended abruptly on March 24, 1976 by a military coup d'état. A military junta, headed by Jorge Rafael Videla took control of the country, starting the self-styled National Reorganization Process. The junta combined widespread persecution of political dissidents with state terrorism. The death toll rose to thousands (at least 9,000, with human rights organizations claiming it was closer to 30,000). Many of these were "the disappeared" (desaparecidos), people kidnapped and executed without trial or record. (selected texts from Wikipedia)
Also see the video:
Latin America In Memorium: March 24 Latin America