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Broadcast on Tuesday 28th September 1999

CHRISTINA ALVAREZ RODRIGUEZ IN SPANISH ENGLISH VOICEOVER

My name is Christina Alvarez Rodriguez. I am the President of the Eva Peron Historical Investigation Foundation. I am also related to Evita. I am her grand-niece. My grandmother, Blanca Eduarda Rodriguez, was the sister of Eva Peron. My knowledge of her is one of the heart, because I couldn't know her personally, as I was born in 1967 and Evita died in 1952. Her life was made up of great decisions. She decided to go to live in the capital, to be an artist, at a time when it was difficult to be an artist, and more difficult still for a woman. Ten years later, she met Peron. Her public life was demanding. Her working day would run from seven in the morning until two or three the next morning. For example, she would directly attend the people that would go to the Peron Social Help Foundation. They went there knowing they could wait and be seen by Evita, and that they were going to be able to explain their needs. She had a lot of contact with people and felt the pain of people as if it were her own. When Eva became the First Lady of Argentina, all of her family came to live in the capital with her - including my grandmother, who was a teacher and worked in the Ministry of Education.

I can speak about Evita's childhood. Evita was a very lively child. And my grandmother says that she spent her childhood playing and creating. She was very creative and was always reciting and singing. And my great-grandmother would call the five children "her little tribe". And Evita was the leader. One sister tells of when Evita was eight. There was no television, only the radio. And Evita came into the room which she shared wth her sister Herminda. And this was when she was just eight. She was all dressed up, with a long dress and with her hair braided and with my great-grandmother's lipstick on. And so the rest of her sisters said: "Evita, what are you doing? Are you going to a party?" And she replied: "No, girls. Don't you know that Braslavsky's playing tonight on the radio, and we have to listen and we have to dress up?" If we think about the most famous events in which Evita took part, there are certain strong images which come into my head. An image of the political Evita is that, on the 22nd of August 1951, when Evita announced that she was not going to accept the position of Vice-President, in front of 2,000 people, she made her announcement from the heart and head. This is the strongest thing I remember about her: that she rejected the honour but not the political fight. I think that they have constructed many myths about Evita. There is a white myth, which was constructed within the Peronist movement, in which they speak of a Saint Evita. After, we have the black myth, which is the myth constructed after 1955, when the military overthrew the constitutional government of Peron. And this myth is one of an absolute monarch Evita. She's a prostitute, without scruples - an ambitious person. And after there is the red Evita, the Evita of the '70s, the revolution. After this, we have a transparent Evita. It's an Evita of the films, the operas, the musicals, of fashion, who is logically represented by Madonna.

Well, if we have to speak or think about the true Evita, it seems that we have to think about a woman of action who, in just six years of work, without occupying a political post, did a great work of social work for Argentina and the world. An Evita who made mistakes and abused power. But she was a very ethical woman, because she believed fundamentally in what she did: to try to make equal all the people of Argentina.

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