Eva Peron

Thesis: Her experience as a member of the lower class who

overcame poverty and her belief in bringing justice

to the poor made everything that she did for the

people of Argentina possible.

I. Taking action

A. Collections for the needy

B. The Secretariat

II. Continuing the action

A. The Eva Peron Foundation

B. The Social Help Crusade

C. The Hospital Train

D. Twelve hospitals

III. Helping women

IV. Helping children

V. Helping the elderly

VI. Seeing Eva's viewpoint

Eva Peron

'Mi vida por Peron!' ('My life for Peron!') [Evita]

cried a thousand times before the roaring crowds, and

then she died. There are parallels that could be

drawn between her life and the lives of other

obsessively ambitious women who have forced their way

through poverty and fame.but instead popular memory

finds parallels between Evita's life and the lives of

the saints, because she did it all for someone else.

(Guillermoprieto 100)

From Colonel Juan Peron's election in 1946 until her death from cancer

in 1952, Eva Duarte de Peron greatly altered the lives of the Argentine

people. Knowing from her childhood what it was like to belong to the

lower class population of Argentina, she felt she had the inside

connection to making conditions better for her "descamisados," or

"shirtless ones." Her experience as a member of the lower class who

overcame poverty and her belief in bringing justice to the poor made

everything she did for the people of Argentina possible.

Social injustice was everywhere in Argentina. It was too much for Eva

to bear, so she decided to take action (Peron 12). Eva Duarte met her

opportunity to work for the government when an earthquake destroyed most

of the city of San Juan on January 15, 1944. She helped take

collections for the needy (To Be I). Later, she chose to work in the

Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare. In this department she was

able to meet many people and hear all of their stories and problems

(Peron 71). She was especially interested in the lower class, the

working class of Argentines. Coming from a family among the working

class, she knew what they were going through. She had a special

understanding of the working class and felt comfortable working with

them to improve their situation (79). Eva considered each worker that

came into her office a friend, and she was a loyal friend to each of

them (81). In all of this, her main purpose was to give justice to the


In 1945 she married Colonel Juan Peron, who became Argentina's president

in 1946 (Taylor 39). Eva helped him a great deal with his campaign and

she won the hearts of the lower class citizens. When Peron took office,

Eva, nicknamed Evita by the descamisados, acted as de facto minister of

health and labor (Mc Henry 301). She also continued her work in the

Secretariat for no salary. Her only earnings were the love and

affection from Peron and the Argentine people (Peron 125).

On June 19, 1948, Evita founded the Maria Eva Duarte de Peron

Foundation, or EPF. This foundation was created to provide national

safety where the government was weak (To Be II). The Foundation's work

was necessary in the lower class areas of the country, rather than in

the cities. Eva believed that the descamisados were the base, the

foundation, of the revolution. They were an essential part of the

country's people (Peron 80).

The Social Help Crusade created housing and neighborhoods that were

affordable for the poor. The crusade also created jobs for the

unemployed and school food programs. It provided inexpensive hospital

supplies and free medication. Workers' unions donated many of these

materials. Evita began The Eva Peron Hospital Train, which provided

free check-ups, vaccinations, x-rays, and general medical care to people

who either did not have access to hospitals or who could not afford a

visit to the doctor (To Be II). Twelve hospitals and two "policlinicos"

(hospitals for the railroad workers) were built with the same objective

as the Hospital Train. These hospitals attracted the best doctor in the

country, and the charge for a visit was minimal, if any (To Be II,

Larson 3). Along with all these efforts, Evita and her foundation

concentrated specifically on helping the women, the children, and the

elderly of the lower class.

Evita fought for the passage of the women's suffrage law, which was

finally approved in 1947 after many years of being "put on the back

burner" (To Be II). She formed the Peronista Feminist Party in 1949 (Mc

Henry 301). She also set up special homes for young women who left home

for the city with little or no money, as she had done when