BUENOS AIRES – Union members and supporters of Argentina’s Peronist party gathered on Wednesday at the tomb of Evita Peron and sang “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the former first lady’s death.
After a Catholic Mass in memory of Juan Domingo Peron’s second wife at the Recoleta Cemetery chapel, scores of people made their way to the Duarte family crypt, covered with floral wreaths and pictures of both Evita and Peron, who governed Argentina from 1946-1955 and then again in 1973-1974.
“I couldn’t help crying while I was singing because there is such a powerful emotion,” Ofelia Fernandez, secretary of the Singers and Culture Workers’ Union, said. “In her 33 years of life, Evita achieved what many cannot do over much more time.”
“Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” was composed in 1976 by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice for the musical “Evita.”
Participants in Wednesday’s observance included people who knew Peron and the former Eva Duarte, who died of uterine cancer on July 26, 1952.
As first lady, Evita gained immense popularity because of her activism on behalf of social and labor rights and her role in promoting the 1947 law that gave Argentine women the right to vote.