When I first saw the above building in 2011, I thought it was decorated with Evita’s image while her widowed husband Juan was still alive. I was surprised to find that Cristina Fernández Kirchner, the current president of Argentina, put it up on the side of the Ministry of Health headquarters around the time of my visit. The building is on Avenida 9 de Julio, the giant fourteen-lane highway that runs north/south from Retiro to Constitucion Station.
As President Kirchner said when she unveiled the image: “She was the most hated but the most loved, the most offended, insulted and discounted but the most venerated – the most humiliated but today eternally victorious…. She taught us that to confront the powerful carries a high price.”
By the time I find myself in Argentina next, Kirchner will have been termed out of office. I wonder how she will be seen by future generations. Evita’s reputation is safe: she died of cancer at the age of 33 at the height of her popularity. She was just about to request sharing power with her husband when the illness struck. Cristina, on the other hand, has ruled Argentina alone, and with her late husband Nestor, since 2003.