BUENOS AIRES – Argentines gathered in the streets of the capital city of Buenos Aires on Tuesday to celebrate what would have been the 100th birthday of their former First Lady Eva Peron, a tireless fighter for the country’s neediest people and a strong supporter of women’s rights.
Born Eva Duarte, she became the founding leader of a political movement named after her husband, former president Juan Domingo Peron, whom she married in 1944 when he was minister for Labor and Welfare, before her death from cancer in 1952 at age 33.
But after decades of success, which saw so-called “Peronista” candidates win nine out of the 12 presidential elections they were allowed to participate in since its inception in 1946, the movement has struggled to gain traction in the 21st century.
Several Peronista politicians who are currently struggling for popularity in the general elections scheduled for October took part in a series of events on Tuesday, Evita’s birthday, the largest of which took in the town of Los Toldos in Buenos Aires province, where she was born on May 7, 1919.
Even members of the ruling party came to pay tribute to the daughter of Juana Ibarguren and Juan Duarte in what was her hometown before she moved as a teenager to the capital some 300 kilometers away.
The governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Maria Eugenia Vidal, led the inauguration of the “Eva Peron House Museum” in Los Toldos on Tuesday.
In the Argentine capital, the events united various political, social and cultural groups, who marched in the city center, with hundreds of people carrying torches, as well as events in the headquarters of Peronista parties, and the inauguration of two new exhibitions in the Eva Peron museum, presenting new artifacts and photographs.
The 45th Buenos Aires International Book Fair also added to the mystique of the actress and activist with the presentation of the book “Eva Peron. That woman,” by Argentine writer Maria Seoane.
The march began at the Ministry of Social Development of the Nation, where she delivered her final speech and which is decorated with two murals in recognition of her political and social work, “Eva the humble” and “Eva.”
Along the July 9 Avenue, one of the widest in the world, the march went towards Independence Avenue, where the Evita Movement which organized of the event set up a stage and filled it with provincial representatives of the Peron movement, who waited to deliver short speeches to the hundreds of people who gathered.
Other politicians took to social media to commemorate the anniversary.
“Eva Peron... Unique and unrepeatable. She transcended her detractors, hatred and death because her love and her dedication to the humble put her forever in the heart of the people and in the history of the Nation. Always... love always overcomes hatred and lies #Evita100Años,” former president Cristina Fernandez Kirchner (2007-2015) wrote, accompanied by a picture of the illuminated mural.
“On the centenary of the birth of #Evita, we pay our tribute to her memory. The example of “the flag bearer of the humble” continues to accompany us in the struggle for the poorest in Latin America. #Evita100Años,” wrote the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales.