Just a few days ago-last June 19th -the New Argentina celebrated the
sixth anniversary of the "creation" of the Eva Perón Foundation.
Strictly speaking, what we have commemorated has simply
been the... date in which the institution...was legally constituted as
did not begin on June 19, 1948, but rather during the second half of the
year 1946; ... it actually began
to show tangible results just after General Perón was inaugurated as President
on June 4, 1946.
How did Evitas
work of love begin? Evita herself explained
in chapter 29 of La Razón de mi Vida when she refers to the beginnings:
"But before just
wages and worthy working conditions could give their fruits of comfort,
it was necessary to remedy the grief of so many years.
homes, clothes, health were lacking.
"That is why
I had gone out into the streets to say:
I am. I want to be of some use to my people.
"When I noticed that my countrys descamisados
had listened to my then timid voice; when I began to see that letters
arrived, and more letters, and men and women, youths and children and
the elderly began to knock on the doors of our private residence, only
then did I realize what the "appeal from my heart" would signify.
"Although I had already foreseen that it was an almost impossible
undertaking, I was convinced of it when the full meaning of the task became
apparent to me.
"Yet Perón had
already taught me many things, and among them was to delete the word impossible
from my dictionary.
"He, who flew
"high and alone like the condors" (I use the words he is wont
to apply to the men of genius he admires: San Martín, Alexander, Napoleon),
had taken me out of the "flock of sparrows" and had given me
my first lessons.
"One, the first
perhaps, was to make me forget the word impossible.
"And we began. Bit by bit. I could not say exactly
on what day. What I do know is that at first I attended to everything
myself. Then I had to ask for help. And finally I was obliged to organize
the work, which in a few weeks had become extraordinary.
"It is true that
from the first day I relied on the moral and material help of the President,
but it was never a case of leaning too much on him who had other and much
more serious problems than mine.
"I remember at one time we were wondering whether
it was expedient that I undertake the task, or whether perhaps it should
be handled by some State organization.
"And it was Perón
himself who told me:
much smitten by injustice have more confidence in persons than in institutions.
In this, more that all the rest,
I am frightened of the bureaucracy.
In the government it is necessary
to have much patience, and to know how to wait for everything to get going.
in works of social welfare it is not possible to wait for anyone.
"This reasoning, logical and simple like all of
Peróns, confirmed me in the post which he, the descamisados and
I together had chosen for me."
In those days the
foundations of the future Fundación Eva Perón were laid in the small garage
of the Presidential Residence, later nicknamed "Las Delicias"
or "The Delights."
Everything began simply and without ceremony.
Just as Evita said:
" And we began. Little by little. I couldnt tell you exactly
on which day. What I can tell you is that at first I took care of everything myself." ........
Why was the place
called "Las Delicias"?
A modest man, one
of the workers who was with Evita from the beginning, tells us.
Social Work began immediately after General Perón became President...
One of the garages of the Presidential Residence was the first Foundation
warehouse. There the first shelves were filled with the first articles
of clothing that Evita bought and the first donations that she received."
"And why was the place called "Las Delicias"?
"Because of something
the General said... I remember it was a Saturday afternoon in September
or October of 1946... There were two or three of us Residence employees
helping Evita classify and pile up clothes on the shelves when a beaming
General Perón approached us and we heard him say, "Lets see
how the Social Work is coming along." We started to show him the
different things we were storing. Pleasantly surprised, [he] exclaimed, "But this is all new clothing!"
Evita answered happily. "This is all clothing I buy myself or is
bought by people who want to help."
Then the General said, "This is a real delight for the needy! Son una verdadera delicia para los necesitados!"
From that day forward
Evita and all of us called the old garage "Las Delicias" and
we could count on one more enthusiastic helper: General Perón, who constantly worked
next to us and helped us open up packages...."
...[In] the actual warehouse of the Fundación, an imposing building located at José Evaristo Uriburu 920, six large stories are totally filled with all kinds of merchandise.
There, on the first floor, is an exact reproduction of "Las Delicias,"
with the shelves placed in the same way that they were in the garage of
the Presidential Residence. The maintenance of this replica is the responsibility
of one of those employees who [first] worked in the garage... .
"For how long has this storehouse been here?"
we asked the man in charge.
"When la Señora
[Evita] returned from Europe in September of 1947, the old place "Las
Delicias," was too small to hold all the donations which were coming
in, so we moved here. Even this large space was soon filled up... but
in this corner we have conserved... an exact reproduction of "Las Delicias." For us it will always
be "Las Delicias."
We looked up... [at] a big sign on top of a pile of
"Las Delicias": the Fundación Eva Perón began under this name in the Presidential Residence."
And he adds, his eyes looking towards the horizon of
his memories, "I was there from the beginning with Evita.. . I worked
together with other employees in the "Delicias" at the Presidential
Residence. We received the orders signed by Evita during her exhausting
days of social work first in an
office of the Central Post Office and later in the historic office of
the Secretaría de Trabajo y Previsión. How many things we have given to
the poor at [Evitas] indication!"
He accompanies us
as we visit the different stories:the ground floor is for housewares and
toys; the first floor is the womens
section; the second and third
floors are for boys and girls; the fourth has mens clothing; the fifth has shoes and the sixth has books
and articles destined for international shipment. Even in the midst
of her exhausting daily schedule, Evita always found time to inspect the
works under construction and to inaugurate the Shelters, Schools, Polyclinics,
and other establishments which are unique in the world... .
On April 3, 1948,
the Hogar de Tránsito #1 (Women and Childrens Shelter) was inaugurated
at 102 Carlos Calvo Street.
On June 19, 1948, the Hogar de Tránsito #2 was inaugurated
at 2988 Lafinur Street [the future site of the Museo Evita].
On August 14, 1948,
the Hogar de Tránsito #3 was inaugurated at 2562 Austria Street.
On October 7, 1948,
the Senior Citizens Home Coronel Perón was inaugurated in Burzaco.
On December 30, 1949, the Women Employees Home General
Jose de San Martín was inaugurated at 809 Avenida de Mayo.
On July 14, 1949,
the Childrens City was inaugurated at 955 Echeverría .
On September 13, 1959,
the Nursing School was inaugurated at 1218 Callao Avenue.
What is the Eva Perón Foundation today?
The central office
of the Foundation is in two huge buildings on Paseo Colón, one at 533
and the other in front of it at 568.
The first one has eleven stories and is where the Consejo
meets [as well as other administrative offices]. The medical and tourism
offices are on Colón 568.
Also,the Social Action
and Sports Departments, Construction, and Cinema are located in the building
at 591 Avenida de Mayo; and the Supplies Warehouse is on the sixth floor
of 501 Diagonal Norte.
The headquarters for
the grocery stores is at 340 Almafuerte; this headquarters manages the 140 grocery stores that the Fundación
Eva Perón has established in different neighborhoods of the Capital. The Fundación also
has storage places... in the Buenos Aires Port.
Besides the establishments
already mentioned, the Fundación also has the following:
The "Student City President Perón" in the Buenos Aires
suburb of Belgrano; the Polyclinic President Perón in Avellaneda, Buenos
Aires Province; Polyclinic Evita in Lanus, Province of Buenos
Aires; Polyclinic Eva Perón in
San Martín, Buenos Aires Province; Polyclinic
August 22nd in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires Province; Childrens Polyclinic "President Perón" in the
province of Catamarca; regional polyclinics in Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán,
Catamarca, La Rioja, Mendoza, San Luis, Santiago del Estero, Santa Fe,
Corrientes and Entre Ríos; Burn Institute at Viamonte 2189, Buenos Aires;
Home School "Evita" in Ezeiza; Home School "Coronel Juan
Perón in the capital city of Jujuy; Home School "Evita" in Termas
de Reyes, Jujuy; Home School "Juan
D. Perón" in the capital city of Salta; Home School "President
Perón" in Tucumán; Home School October 17th" in Catamarca; Home
School "Coronel Perón" in La Rioja; Home Schools "Coronel
Juan Perón" and "Governor Ruperto Godoy" in San Juan; Home
School "October 17th" in Mendoza; Home School in Santa Rosa,
Eva Perón Province; Home School "August 22nd" in Mercedes, San
Luis; Home School "President Perón" in Santiago del Estero;
Home School "Coronel Perón" in Córdoba; Home School in Resistencia,
President Perón Province; Home School "Coronel Juan Perón" in
Granadero Baigorria, Santa Fe Province; Home School "President Perón"
in the capital of the province of Corrientes; Home Schools in Paraná,Entre
Ríos and Comodoro Rivadavia; International Hotel in Ezeiza, Buenos Aires
Province; Tourism hotels in Chapadmalal; Hotel Puente del Inca, Villa
Eva Perón, Mendoza; Hotels and Cottages in Embalse Río Tercero, Córdoba.
Works that are under
construction and will be inaugurated soon: "University City"
in Mendoza; "University City"
in Córdoba; "University City" in Ezeiza; Childrens Polyclinic
in Warnes, Buenos Aires [this hospital for children, which would have
been the largest in Latin America, was abandoned by the military after
the 1955 Coup dEtat and was taken over by derelicts and thieves];
Regional Polyclinics in Paraná, Entre Ríos and in Neuquén, and the Senior
Citizens Complex in Santa Fe.
This is an outline
of the Fundación Eva Perón now.
It is an enormous enterprise ... and its work to promote
social justice is far reaching.