Argentina: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Argentina, Eva Peron biography, Buenos Aires described.

ARGENTINA

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One of Argentina's greatest heroines is Eva Peron. Illegitimate child of a farm laborer and a coachman's daughter, Eva was born in 1919 in a small pampas village 150 mi. west of Buenos Aires. At 15 she ran off to Buenos Aires to enter show business. Eventually, as "Senorita Radio," a broadcaster, she became widely known. She met Juan Peron in 1944 in connection with a radio interview, and they were married soon after.

Through her charitable works and projects, and with the aid of her particular kind of charismatic appeal, she soon won the adoration of Argentina's poor. Through the Eva Peron Foundation, a blanket charitable organization developed and run by her personally, she dispensed money and gifts of food and clothing to the needy. She became affectionately known as "Evita" (Little Eva), and wielded considerable power in the country.

When only 29, she was suddenly stricken with cancer. Despite her increasingly serious state of health, she continued to conduct her public life as normally as possible for the next 4 years. Peron wanted her to run as his Vice President in the 1951 presidential election, but she was not well enough. On July 16, 1952, at the age of 33, she died.

Her body lay in state for 2 weeks, and 8 people were trampled to death in the frenzied crowds that flocked to her funeral. Peron arranged for her body to be embalmed and preserved forever, and planned an enormous mausoleum for her. However, when he was overthrown in 1955, he had to leave the body behind him in Argentina. The body disappeared for some time, and there are 2 versions of what happened to it. According to the generally accepted version, Eva Peron was buried in a Milan, Italy, cemetery under a false name, and it was several years before Peron learned about this. According to a little-known version-told to the Almanac by a biographer and friend of Peron's-the embalmed corpse of Eva was sent to Peron in Spain, where he lived in exile. There, as he dined nightly with his living wife, Isabel, his deceased wife, Eva, was also in attendance. When Peron returned to power in Argentina, Eva's body followed him, arriving just before his own death in 1974.

The burst of kidnap activity that preceded and accompanied the reappearance of Peron on the Argentine political scene resulted in 500 kidnappings (150 of them involving foreign businessmen or diplomats) by late 1973. Enormous ransoms of over $1 million were demanded in several cases, the record being the $14.2 million paid by Exxon for the release of American executive Victor Samuelson in April, 1974. Concerned for their own safety, over half of the 6,000-member American community in Argentina had left the country by early 1974.

Buenos Aires, the capital, is considered by many to be one of the most civilized and cosmopolitan cities in the world. It resembles Paris, with its many parks, diagonal boulevards, tree-lined streets, and gray mansard roofs. Its restaurants, in a country where many people have customarily eaten steak for both lunch and dinner, are excellent, and there are theaters, art galleries, and museums to rival anything in London or New York.

On the other hand, present-day life on the Falkland Islands off Argentina's southern tip remains much as it was in the 19th century, when the islands were 1st populated by British, largely Scottish, sheepherders.

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