One thing that almost everyone in the world would call to mind when they think of Argentina is the Broadway Musical/Movie Evita. As mentioned in the previous post, we finished watching it at 1 a.m. the night before we left for Argentina and it was a great refresher course. According to many Argentinians, it is also pretty accurate.
Eva Duarte Peron was one of the the world’s most iconic personalities. Born in 1919 as the illegitimate daughter of a prestigious land owner who never claimed her, she was raised in poverty, left home and went to Buenos Aires at age 15 to wend her way to fame.
At age 20:
Here is a short history of her later life which we found very interesting:
We found her life to be fascinating! From the square at Plaza de Mayo, the site of many political rallies throughout the years, you can see the balcony from which Eva Peron gave her famous speeches (thanks again Kathy).
Can’t you just hear Madonna singing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” from that balcony (although I think Hollywood may have used a balcony a little closer to home). The scope of the scene was pretty impressive!
This house is called Casa Rosada or “Pink House” and is the official residence and executive office building of the President..
Eva Peron died when she was she was approaching 33 years and was adored by most of the poor masses and hated by most of the upper class as she stood by the side of her husband, Juan Peron. It’s a stunning history!
Even though her family name (Duarte) wasn’t one of the “chosen ones” for being laid to rest in the amazing cemetery for famous people located in the heart of Buenos Aires, she somehow managed to have her Mausoleum placed there (although her husband is not beside her).
She was born in 1919 and died of cancer in 1952, which is quite incredible when you think that dynamic woman with a checkered past turned Argentina upside down, with both adoration and devastation in her short life as the wife of the President.
The cemetery was quite incredible and made the wild cemetery we saw in New Orleans this year seem pretty small.
We’re sure there are fascinating stories behind everyone of these elaborate mausoleum doors! Some looked like small cathedrals.
Here’s a peak inside one of the simple but tasteful mausoleums with someone’s ashes inside the urn below.
And some of those doors hadn’t been opened in a very long time!
The huge event on the last night of our conference began in the extensive tunnels and channels under the city which were originally designed in the 1800s for people to use as a sewer system and a place to deposit their garbage in order to get it out of sight. The tunnels have been beautifully restored and the organizers borrowed posters from the Eva Peron Museum to display on the walls as we passed by (many of them seen above).
We viewed her life from childhood to the grip she held on the nation for the last seven years of her life and her loud voice was shouting in the background at a campaign rally as we progressed through the tunnels.
One of the most telling things was the view of Eva Peron from different people you talk to. Our guide on the bus to the event compared her short 33 years to the life of the Savior. She did do a lot for women’s rights including procuring the vote for women. However our guide in the tunnels said that she was the worst thing that ever happened to Argentina. She apparently bankrupted the country, was often cruel to her enemies and was a total despot.
The evening ended with a spectacular dinner for 400 with spotlights on the lilies which were the centerpieces of each table. There were also two fabulous singers who represented Eva and Juan Peron who sang moving songs in Spanish, ending with “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”