On The Evita Trail in Buenos Aires
Eva Duarte de Perón (7 May 1919 – 26 July 1952) is to Argentina what Princess Diana was to the U.K., a beautiful and charismatic fighter for lost causes adored by the masses, but with some enemies in high places.
Like England’s Rose, she died incredibly young aged just 33 and her death saw an unprecedented public outpouring of grief.
So much so that it is said that all cut flowers in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay & Chile were completely sold out for two weeks either side of her state funeral.
The legend lives on in her homeland and further afield thanks to the musical adaptation of her life, loves and toils on behalf of Argentina’s underdogs.
We went in search of her footprints…..
The Eva Perón Museum (Museo Evita)
Set inside a former women & children’s mission building in the city that Evita founded, the museum exhibits photographs, her outfits, personal possessions, political posters & archive footage telling the story of the rise of a simple village girl to the highest echelons of South American politics right up to her untimely death from cancer.
Her main cause was to get justice and basic human rights for the poorest citizens of her nation which ensured her endearment to millions. This included get Argentina’s women the vote.
The museum was fascinating, similar in many ways to the Maria Callas exhibition we visited once in Athens.
Officially photographs were not allowed inside, but I managed to sneak a few.
Evita was perhaps best known for her rousing speeches as the First Lady, stood on a balcony alongside her husband, President Juan Perón as crowds of her admirers cheered every word. These are the scenes immortalised on stage & screen.
Most of the iconic newsreel that we see was filmed in black & white, but the governmental building where she stood in front of the masses was in fact pink, the casa rosada standing at one end of the Plaza de Mayo.
The interior contains an interesting museum telling the story of the rise of Buenos Aires, but we satisfied ourselves with an external view, imagining Evita giving one of her intense dialogues from that balcony.
The Eva Duarte de Perón Tomb, Recoleta Cemetery
The Recoleta Cemetery is up there as one of the world’s great cemeteries alongside Highgate in London, Cristóbal Colón in Havana and Père Lachaise in Paris.
Some of the graves are lavish in the extreme, the final resting place of great politicians, military officers, writers, Nobel prize winners and scientists.
The main draw however is undoubtedly the Duarte family grave where Evita is buried.
Entry to the cemetery is free. I paid for a map and completely gave up trying to follow it, relying instead on asking directions and following the crowds.
The simple (by other standards) grave is adorned by brass plaques extolling the virtues of Evita and as you would expect flowers are consistently attached.
We paid our respects, lingering for far longer than most.
Out & About
Like Che & Fidel in Havana, Evita’s presence is everywhere in Buenos Aires, with her likeness present on walls of buildings, statues and murals. Here are a few of the most prominent ones…