Don’t Cry For Me Argentina; the phrase flows harmoniously through my ipod headphones every long distance trip I take. Whenever I travel, I usually like to listen to full Broadway CDs to pass the time. One of my personal favorites is Evita. Originally featured on Broadway in 1979 (being revived this year with Ricky Martin) and made famous with a motion picture in 1996 by Madonna, concentrates on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Peron, second wife of former President Juan Peron. The show and movie chronicles Eva Duarte Peron from her humble beginnings as a poor girl in the countryside to her rise to power and early death. Dreams of being an actress, her first love takes her from her home to Buenos Aires, where she sleeps her way to the top, and eventually cross paths with then military Colonel Juan Peron. With her marriage to Peron and introduction to the Argentine bourgeois, Eva assists Peron on his path to the Presidency. The show culminates to the most infamous scene in the story that displays Eva, on the balcony of the Casa Rosada singing “Dont Cry for Me Argentina” in which she wins over the Argentine people.
So, I wont bore you with anymore details of the story line, despite the fact I could recall the entire story and every word to every song by heart, upon seeing the movie for the first time, I was immediately obsessed. Pretty sure I saw the movie for the first time when I was in elementary school, but if you look back at all my Spanish biography reports, they were on Eva Peron. Although I found some differences between her actual history and the musical, I was still fascinated by her rise to stardom and fame, and the controversies surrounding her European Tour and Peron’s ultimate election to the presidency. I watch the movie over and over again, and I cant’ help but want to see the streets she paraded down, the Casa Rosada and the tomb where she now rests. Although I do not think I will make it down to South America anytime soon, this blog prompt has given me the opportunity to explore the country through a new lens.
By utilizing the resources on the Kennedy School Directory, I was able to find information about Argentina’s current political leaders through the Council on Foreign Relations. This particular think tank is comprised of 70 full-time and adjunct fellows who report and analyze the major issues that shape the current international landscape. In its mission statement says that the CFR is dedicated to, “being a resource for its members, government officials, business executives, journalists, educators and students, civic and religious leaders, and other interested citizens in order to help them better understand the world and the foreign policy choices facing the United States and other countries.” In the section about Argentina, most of the articles displayed concern current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. I was immediately drawn to these articles due in part because Kirchner’s political influence and strong feminine character reminds me of Eva Peron.
In the article, Argentina’s Democratic Dynasty, Stephanie Hanson opens her piece prior to Kirchner’s victory. Kirchner’s husband, Nestor Kirchner, previously held the Presidential position and many said that Kirchner’s political agendas would mirror those of her husbands. A substantial focus on the article directs attention to the assumption that Kirchner would place greater emphasis on foreign policy then her spouse. Because of the country’s economic collapse in 2001, she has been working diligently to spur investment in the Argentine economy. Although there is speculation that she might distant herself from Venezuela’s President Huge Chavez, herself, Chavez and Brazilian President Lula are all in favor of integrating into a unified regional bloc. There is speculation that Kirchner might narrow herself if she only focuses on foreign policy and not on the growing inflation problems that plague the nation.
Overall, the analysis and primary sources included in the Argentine section of the Council on Foreign Relations I found simple and direct. They enabled me to gain a deeper understanding of what type of political leader Kirchner is, and how she would approach the Presidency.