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Models of Success

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

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At age 24, Eva Duarte conducted a program called “Towards a Better Future,” highlighting the accomplishments of Colonel Juan Domingo Perón, Argentina’s Secretary of Labor at that time. In February 1946, Juan Domingo Perón won the presidential election with a landslide victory.

In 1947, she embarked on an international tour to a European continent exhausted by a lengthy world conflict. In honor of her extraordinary services to their country, the Spanish government granted Her Excellency Eva Perón the prestigious Order of Isabella the Catholic. In Rome, she visited the His Holiness Pope Pius XII, and in France, she was received by His Excellency Charles de Gaulle. During her tour in Europe, she was featured in TIME Magazine, the first South American First Lady to appear alone on its cover.

Eager to bring more social services to the less fortunate, the benevolent First Lady created her own foundation, the Eva Perón Foundation, launched with a personal donation. Eva Perón was a profoundly spiritual person. Born and baptized Catholic, Eva practiced sharing everything she had with every person in need.

For the first time in history, there was no inequality in Argentina’s health care, and the children of disadvantaged families had the same opportunities as the more privileged children. Eva Perón also championed the right to vote for Argentine women. After a sustained campaign, in 1947, the House of Representatives approved the law unanimously. She then founded the Female Peronist Party, amassing 500,000 members in 3,600 headquarters across the country. On Eva’s 33rd birthday, the Argentinean Congress gave her the title “Spiritual Leader of the Nation.”

On July 26, 1952, Eva Perón passed away. Eva was granted a state funeral, an honor usually reserved for a head of state. Seventy years have passed since that day, but the memories of the beloved First Lady are alive and well, and Evita’s voice and love remains forever as a constant reminder to strive for a better future.
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