June 19, 2019
Latest News
Entertainment

Eva Perón, a breath of fresh air in Franco's black and white Spain

By Alida Juliani

Madrid, Jun 8 (efe-epa).- Exactly 72 years ago, Eva Perón came to Spain on an official visit, bringing a breath of fresh air to a country that was in the throes of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco; a Spain that was beginning to recover from the post-civil war hunger thanks to supplies of wheat and meat being sent over by Argentina.

With Spain's isolated position on the world stage, considered to have the last surviving fascist regime, having Argentina's support meant the survival of the Franco government in one of its darkest hours. A bread shortage was driving society into a general malaise, with threats of protests and revolts.

"The internal situation in Spain was also very complex, and that's where the relationship with Argentina is fundamental," said José Antonio Sánchez Román, a professor in Contemporary History at Madrid's Complutense Univesity.

"In fact, it has to be said that the relationship was key to the survival of the Franco regime," he told Efe.

At a time marked by the end of World War II, Argentine President Juan Perón sent 400,000 tonnes of wheat, 120,000 tonnes of corn, 8,000 tonnes of cooking oil, 10,000 tonnes of lentils, 20,000 tonnes of frozen meat, 5,000 tonnes of cured meat and 50,000 boxes of eggs to Spain.

"Those who were anti-Perón argue there is an ideological affinity between Perón and Franco, two regimes considered to be the heirs of fascism," Sánchez Román added.

"But in reality they were very different. Both are authoritarian, but unlike Franco, and although (he was) part of a military government, Perón arrived to power through elections, with social policies and a link to the working world that was completely missing from Franco's regime,” he said.

According to the historian, Perón's decision to help Spain was intended to "irritate" the United States and demonstrate that his government had an autonomous foreign policy.

And it was in these circumstances that Eva Perón came to Spain, visiting as her husband’s personal envoy upon Franco's invitation, as a thank you for Argentina's help.

The trip lasted 18 days, taking her to Madrid and Barcelona, besides smaller cities across the country.

"To a sad country, in black and white, came a women with so much strength, a lot of glamour, very feminist, groundbreaking, strapless necklines, Christian Dior outfits, red lips, red hair, who mobilized the workers, stuck in the throes of the dictatorship, and the women saw her as a breath of fresh air," journalist Ángeles Blanco, author of the 2019 book "Los dos Viajes de Evita" ("The Two Trips of Evita"), explained to Efe.

Her trip to Spain really threw her into the spotlight, according to Blanco. "She came to Spain as Eva Perón and 18 days later left as Evita," he said.

"She comes to Spain with lots of fears, but she's aware of her ability to convene and even manages to pull Franco's strings," he said. "She gets lots of the things she wants and when she leaves the country and carries on her trip around the rest of Europe, Evita is another woman."

And she is able to shape some of the "things that were later passed in Argentine legislation, like the women's vote, which she studied in other countries as part of her European tour," the writer pointed out.

The day after her arrival, Eva gave a speech on a warm June 8, wearing a fur coat, in front of half a million people gathered on Madrid’s Plaza de Oriente, near the Royal Palace.

But for Blanco, there was a crucial moment during her time in Spain, and that was when she told Franco to either pardon Juana Doña, the last woman condemned to death under the regime, or else she would pull the aid from Argentina.

And Eva's intervention worked, because Doña's fate was reduced to a prison sentence.

Doña's son Alexis Mesón said he is "eternally grateful" for Eva's actions, adding that it was thanks to her he got to spend another 55 years with his mother.

Mesón was nine years old when, with the help of his aunt and grandmother, he wrote a letter to Eva via the Argentine embassy in Madrid.

"Eva gave my the gift of my mother for another 50 odd years," Mesón told Efe. "And not any mother, but, aside from all the differences, a mother who was also historic, given that she became a reference in the communist and feminist fight in this country.

"Franco had no choice but to say yes to everything Eva or Perón asked for, and for that reason he changed my mother's death sentence."

Doña, who spend 20 years in prisons around Spain, was grateful for Eva's intervention for the rest of her life.

"She was ideologically very far away from Eva," said Mesón, who has been to Argentina many times over the years.

On one visit, he laid a bouquet of red carnations on Evita's grave at La Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires, where he had "a moment of reflection and gratitude."

Eva Perón was first lady of Argentina between 1946 and 1952.

Her life inspired the 1996 movie "Evita," in which she is depicted by Madonna. EFE-EPA

ajs/sh

News history
Van Gogh suspected suicide gun auctions for $182,000

Paris, Jun 19 (efe-epa).- The gun which the artist Vincent Van Gogh is suspected to have used in his suicide sold at auction for $182,000 on Wednesday.

1980s New York street art: still relevant 30 years on

By Paula Baena Velasco

Tom Hanks: Everyone wants to believe that toys come to life

By Jose Oliva

Thousands protest in Nepal against controversial bill

Kathmandu, June 19 (efe-epa).- Thousands of protesters gathered in the Nepal capital on Wednesday demanding the government to scrap a controversial bill to...

World Tapas Day: a celebration of Spanish culture

By Pilar Salas

Huge portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi marks birthday of Myanmar's de facto leader

A giant portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s state counselor, was created by her supporters on Wednesday in celebration of her birthday.

Kim Dotcom awaits NZ court ruling on appeal against extradition to USA

Sydney (Australia), Jun 19 (efe-epa).- The legal arguments on whether New Zealand can extradite German businessman Kim Dotcom to the United States over...

Kate del Castillo gives voice to Ciudad Juarez victims in New York theater

By Nora Quintanilla

Aubrey Plaza about murderous Chucky: Horror is a release we need

By David Villafranca

Pence thanks Latin America for generosity in supporting Venezuela's freedom

Miami, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday renewed the "firm" commitment of the Donald Trump administration to Venezuela's "legitimate"...

Late Picasso work fetches nearly $16mn at auction

Guillermo Ximenis

Bolivia inaugurates its 1st capsule hotel

La Paz, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Comfort and a futuristic style come together in Bolivia's first capsule hotel, which starting this Tuesday will offer lodging to...

Fumito Ganryu's wearable, stylish designs stand out at Men's Fashion Week

Madrid Desk, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Japanese designer Fumito Ganryu launched his Spring/Summer 2020 men's collection in Paris Tuesday with an abundance of 90s...

Mexico's president tops 1 mn YouTube subscribers

Mexico City, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday celebrated topping 1 million subscribers on his YouTube channel,...

Palomo Spain opens Paris Men's Fashion Week with 70s psych, gladiator chic

Madrid, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- Palomo Spain opened Paris Men's Fashion week Tuesday with his hallmark androgynous silhouettes and quirky details that continue...

Pistol that killed Van Gogh to be sold in Paris auction

By Claudia Zapater

Fashion designer Gloria Vanderbilt dies

New York, Jun 17 (efe-epa).- New York fashion designer and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt died Monday, her son, well-known CNN cable news host Anderson Cooper,...

Gunpowder, roast corn, dancing: Brazil has world's biggest feast of St. John

Children in India prepare for World Yoga Day

Indian children perform Mallakhamb Yoga in Bhopal, India, in preparation for the World Yoga Day.

Spain's King Felipe VI invested in prestigious UK Order of Garter

Windsor (United Kingdom), Jun 17 (efe-epa).- Spain's King Felipe VI was on Monday invested as a knight of the Order of the Garter, one the United Kingdom's...

Japan struggles to adapt to increasing tourist numbers ahead of Olympics

By Nora Olive.

Village in Lebanon marks Cherry Day with abundant harvest

The village of Hammana, southeast of Beirut, Lebanon is known for its cherries blooming and has celebrated Cherry Day for fifty years.

A fragile Notre Dame Cathedral holds first Mass since devastating fire

Paris, Jun 15 (efe-epa).- Two months after being devastated by fire, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris held its first Mass this Saturday in conditions still...

Italian film, opera director Franco Zeffirelli dies aged 96

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.