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Models of Success

Her Excellency Eva Perón (Evita): Beloved Leader of a Nation, Part 1 of 2

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Her Excellency Eva Perón, the beloved 25th First Lady of Argentina, is the subject of numerous articles, books, plays, and films. who used her position to stand up for the less fortunate.

María Eva Duarte de Perón was born in Junín, in the Argentine province of Buenos Aires, on May 7, 1919. In her autobiography, “The Reason for My Life,” Eva Perón mentions, “To explain my life today, that is what I do, according to what my soul feels, I had to go search, in my early years, my first feelings. [...] that feeling is my indignation in the face of injustice. Ever since I can remember, every injustice makes my soul ache as if something were nailed in it. From every age, I keep the memory of some injustice that has revolted me, tearing me apart deep inside.”

Longing for an opportunity, in 1934, at the incredibly youthful age of 15, she left Junín to the nation’s capital of Buenos Aires. Eva bleached her naturally black hair to blonde, and against all odds, without formal education or connections, she made her professional debut on March 28, 1935, in the play “Mrs. Pérez” at the Comedians Theater. From then on, Eva worked almost continuously.

By 1943, Eva was earning five to six thousand pesos a month, making her one of the highest-paid radio actresses of the nation, and she became the co-owner of the radio company. With her new financial stability, she moved to a new apartment in an exclusive neighborhood of Recoleta. That same year, she founded Argentina’s Radio Sindicate.

On January 15, 1944, an earthquake occurred in the town of San Juan, Argentina, taking the lives of 10,000 people. The Labor Secretary of Argentina, Juan Domingo Perón, a rising star in Argentina’s complex political landscape, established a fund to raise money for the victims. He planned an Artist Festival and invited radio and film actors to participate. In May of that same year, Colonel Perón invited the broadcast performers to organize themselves into a union. Eva Duarte was elected its president. Eva and Juan Domingo Perón were a perfect match.

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