Who Was Argentina鈥檚 Famous, Controversial Evita?

Was Evita As Great/Terrible As Everyone Says

A beautiful portrait of Eva & Juan Per贸n in the Casa Rosada museum

I鈥檓 here in Buenos Aires, trying to understand if Evita was good or bad, if her achievements deserve praise or not.

The only thing people agree about is that Evita changed Argentina forever.

An old movie projector at the Galer铆a Guemes used in Evita鈥檚 era. It was used in the movie Evita.

In 1996, Madonna arrived in Buenos Aires to film Evita.

Everyone protested. The movie would portray Evita in a bad way! Or glorify her!

Nobody was happy. President Menem was unsure about Madonna singing on balcony of The Casa Rosada, where Evita stood in front of thousands.

Madonna kept a journal during her filming of Evita.

Argentina鈥檚 Congress at sunset

Director Alan Parker remembers a press conference in Buenos Aires. Reporters were yelling at each other instead of asking Parker questions.

The kitchen of the former Eva Peron Foundation

I鈥檓 here in the kitchen of the former Eva Per贸n Foundation, now the Evita Museum. This is where you come to hear all the good things Eva Per贸n did for her country.

The Foundation was created to help Argentina鈥檚 poor.

An exhibit showing the toys that Evita gave to children

In 1948, she helped women to win the right to vote.

Evita handed out toys to poor children at Christmas time. She wanted them to have presents, too.

An exhibit at the Evita Museum, showing how Evita improved education

She created a nursing school so poor women could have careers and pull themselves out of poverty.

An old sewing machine, exhibited at the Evita Museum, showing a machine similar to the one Evita鈥檚 mother used

After she was born, her father abandoned the family. Her mother had to sew clothing to support the five children.

In the next room, you can see the movie poster for La Prologa, starring Evita. The movie is about a wealthy, wasteful woman who decides to dedicate herself to the poor.

The public never saw the movie. Eva Duarte had just married Juan Per贸n. The couple didn鈥檛 thing the movie was appropriate for a President and a First Lady.

A beautiful portrait of Eva & Juan Per贸n

The couple became wildly popular, especially Evita, thanks to all her Foundation did to help the country鈥檚 poor.

But Evita found out she had uterine cancer.

The Casa Rosada and the balcony where Evita addressed thousands of supporters

We all know Evita singing from the balcony of the Casa Rosa, the presidential offices in Buenos Aires.

鈥淒on鈥檛 cry for me, Argentina鈥

She never said those words, but that was the sentiment. And she didn鈥檛 sing to her public, los descamisados (the shirtless ones). The tone of the speech sounds very different.

She was shouting with anger, urging people to defend Juan Per贸n after her death.

A dark and lonely sunset view of the Casa Rosada and the National bank, which the military bombed, hoping to kill Juan Per贸n

She knew the military was threatening to overthrow her husband.

Evita died in 1952. She was just 33 years old.

In June 1955, the military bombed the Casa Rosada. The plaza in front was filled with thousands of Per贸n鈥檚 supporters. Over 300 of them died.

President Per贸n managed to escape. But just three months later, he was overthrown and forced into exile.

Burnt items, destroyed when the military ended the Eva Per贸n Foundation

The new military government closed the Eva Per贸n Foundation and burned everything inside.

They said the Foundation was a propaganda machine and nothing else. They withheld vaccinations from the poor because each one had Eva Per贸n鈥檚 name on it.

They also said that labor unions and other groups and individuals were forced to donate to the Foundation, thanks to Per贸n鈥檚 legislation.

An exhibit showing Evita鈥檚 designer dresses.

Evita justified wearing designer clothes in her book, My Reason For Living.

Like all women, I also like to look beautiful for the people I love more than I do for strangers… and that鈥檚 why I wear my best outfits for the shirtless working people.

I read a book called, The Real Lives of Evita. I鈥檝e talked to people here in Buenos Aires. I visited the museum. I watched the movie.

Sometimes the more you learn about a subject, the harder it is to understand.

Buenos Aires Itinerary: Know Before You Go

Coming soon…

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Trying to stay healthy and sane in these crazy times.

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