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“EVITA” CRUISE HISTORY: Does Madonna know that Eva Peron had two ships named after her?

“EVITA” CRUISE HISTORY: Does Madonna know that Eva Peron had two ships named after her?

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The Argentine passengers liners were called the MV EVITA and the MV EVA PERON. They were similar in design to the MV JUAN PERON.

 

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Three views of the MV EVA PERON (later renamed the MV URUGUAY). Cia Argentina de Nav Dodero’s EVA PERON was launched in 1949. Named in honor of dictator Juan Peron’s wife, the ship was 12,627 GRT, 530 feet in length and 71 feet in width, carrying 96 first class passengers with a crew of 145. The ship was very deluxe and used by a lot of Peron’s cronies. Her maiden voyage was from London to Buenos Aires and later from Hamburg to Buenos Aires. After the fall of the Peron government in 1955 the ship was named the URUGUAY. She was broken up in 1973.

The ships operated from Argentina (South America) to Europe and the USA.  

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The air-conditioned accommodations included large staterooms with private or semi-private bath, a main lounge, smoking room bar, library, dining room and a tiled swimming pool and lido.

The ships were streamlined and yacht like.  They carried limited number of first class passengers and cargo.

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The first, PERÓN PRESIDENT of 12,459 tons, was launched on November 3, 1948 and started her maiden voyage from London in July, with stops in Havre, Lisbon, Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo.

Argentina was the only South American country to operate long distance intercontinental ocean liners, although always with ships of moderate size and speed.

While ruling Argentina, Eva Peron had dictator Juan Peron, her doting husband, name two-passenger ships after her. The Argentine liners were called the MV EVITA and the MV EVA PERON.

They were similar in design to the MV PRESIDENTE PERON. The ships ran from Argentina (South America) to Europe and the USA.

Eva Peron: “Mother of Argentina, the MV EVITA and MV EVA PERON”

Argentina was the only South American country to operate long distance intercontinental ocean liners, although always with ships of moderate size and speed.

While ruling Argentina, Eva Peron had dictator Juan Peron, her doting husband, name two-passenger ships after her. The Argentine liners were called the MV EVITA and the MV EVA PERON.

They were similar in design to the MV PRESIDENTE PERON. The ships ran from Argentina (South America) to Europe and the USA.

The Juan Peron influenced Compañia Argentina de Navegación Dodero / Empresa Lineas Maritimas Argentinas commenced Buenos Aires to London passenger voyages in 1949 with the newly built PRESIDENTE PERON and followed this in 1950 with the EVA PERON and the 17 DE OCTUBRE. Compañia Argentina de Navegación Dodero / Empresa Lineas Maritimas Argentinas commenced Buenos Aires to London passenger voyages in 1949 with the newly built PRESIDENTE PERON and followed this in 1950 with the EVA PERON and the 17 DE OCTUBRE.

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The Flota Mercante del Estado’s motorship EVITA (name adopted in 1952) was launched in 1949. She was one of two ships named after dictator Juan Peron’s wife: Eva Peron. The EVITA was 11,317 GRT, 550 feet in length and 65 feet in width. Carrying 116 passengers in first class, with a crew of 155, she operated on the line’s Buenos Aires-New York service. In 1955 she was renamed the RIO TUNUYAN when Peron’s dictatorship was defeated. She was refitted as a one-class vessel carring 372 tourist class passengers running from Buenos Aires to Hamburg. She was broken up in 1973.

The same year, passenger services between Buenos Aires, Vigo, Amsterdam and Hamburg commenced. A service between B.A., Rio de Janeiro, Las Palmas, Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseilles, Naples and Genoa with southbound calls at Montevideo soon followed. After the fall of the Peron Government, the Dodero Line ceased operations and management of the fleet passed to Flota Argentina de Navegaceon de Ultramar (FANU). In 1962 FANU and the Flota Mercante del Estado merged to form Empresa Lineas Maritimas Argentinas (ELMA) who took over the passenger services. The Genoa route was discontinued in 1969 and passenger services to London in 1967 and the ships converted to cargo carriers. The Hamburg route was ended in 1972.

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The Argentine State Line service from Argentina to New York operated between 1950 and 1962. Between 1952 and 1953 the EVITA operated to New York from Buenos Aires. With the fall of the Peron government, any reference to Juan or Eva was removed. The EVITA was changed to the RIO TUNUYAN. With the RIO DE LA PLATA and RIO JACAL the former EVITA held down the 43-day round trip from New York to Buenos Aires via Rio de Janeiro, Santos and Montevideo, returning via the same ports plus Trinidad and La Guaira (Caracas).

Argentina was the only South American country to operate long distance intercontinental ocean liners, although always with ships of moderate size and speed. The Rio de la Plata, Rio Jachal and Rio Tunuyan held down the 41-day round trip from Buenos Aires to New York outbound via Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Trinidad and La Guaira (Caracas), with the homeward voyage stopping in Rio de Janeiro, Santos and Montevideo.

The spacious facilities were designed to compete with Moore-McCormack Lines’ popular “Good Neighbor Trio” built in the 1930s. The air-conditioned accommodations included large staterooms with private or semi-private bath, a main lounge, smoking room bar, library, dining room and a tiled swimming pool and lido.
In 1962, Rio Jachal suffered a serious fire dockside in New York and was withdrawn. The other two ships were soon reconfigured to carry 372 Tourist class passengers and placed on the Buenos Aires to Northern Europe service.

“Once you’re aboard one of the modern ‘Rio’ vessels, you will find that reality surpasses your expectations … you are surrounded by Latin American warmth and hospitality, so characteristic of the Argentine.”

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Cia Argentian de Nav Dodero’s PRESIDENTE PERON was launched in 1948. Named in honor of dictator Juan Peron, the PRESIDENTE PERON was 12,459 GRT, 530 feet in length and 71 feet in width, carrying 74 first class passengers with a crew of 145. This proved to be nearly two crewmembers to every passenger. Her maiden voyage was from London to Buenos Aires and later from Hamburg to Buenos Aires. After the fall of the Peron government in 1955 the ship was named the ARGENTINA. She was broken up in 1973.

The company commenced Buenos Aires to London passenger voyages in 1949 with the newly built PRESIDENTE PERON and followed this in 1950 with the EVA PERON and the 17 DE OCTUBRE. The same year, passenger services between Buenos Aires, Vigo, Amsterdam and Hamburg commenced. A service between B.A., Rio de Janeiro, Las Palmas, Lisbon, Barcelona, Marseilles, Naples and Genoa with southbound calls at Montevideo soon followed. After the fall of the Peron Government, the Dodero Line ceased operations and management of the fleet passed to Flota Argentina de Navegaceon de Ultramar (FANU). In 1962 FANU and the Flota Mercante del Estado merged to form Empresa Lineas Maritimas Argentinas (ELMA) who took over the passenger services. The Genoa route was discontinued in 1969 and passenger services to London in 1967 and the ships converted to cargo carriers. A service to New York also operated between 1950 and 1962. The Hamburg route was ended in 1972.

EVA PERON – HISTORY

Eva “Evita” Peron wanted to help the poor of Argentina. She was vilified by the elite rich (the 1%) and the Roman Catholic Church.  

Ambitious, ruthless, untiring, clever and strikingly beautiful, Maria Eva Duarte de Peron had in large measure many of the qualities needed to lift her in a dozen short years from obscurity to fame, wealth and power on the unpredictable currents of Argentine political life.

The child of a poor village landowner who had been separated from his first wife, she rose meteorically through a brief radio and motion picture career to become the first lady of her land and one of the most influential women in the Western hemisphere.

Senora Peron’s ascent and her important role in governmental affairs and propaganda were all the more remarkable for the contrast that they presented to the conservative social traditions of Latin America, where women previously were seldom seen, and never heard, in public life.

No less than her husband, Senora Peron was a controversial figure. To her supporters, among whom were the many recipients of her highly publicized charities, she approached the stature of a dazzling goddess. She was “la dama de la esperanza,” the lady of hope.

For her opponents, political and social, however, there were not words strong enough to express their dislike and envy of this blonde upstart, who seemed to have virtually taken over the country.

The controversial aspect of the role of Senora Peron was by no means limited to Argentina. She became a truly international figure, a world-wide topic of conversation and invariably a subject of conjecture.

Countless anecdotes–factual as well as apocryphal–pointed this up. The inevitably humorless way in which she lent herself to the promulgation of absolute peronismo was never better illustrated than on the day she had to undergo minor surgery.

‘Viva Peron!’
One of the Buenos Aires newspapers owned outright by the Government ran a front-page box, allegedly describing the moment that she was being wheeled into the operating room.

“Before they put me to sleep,” she was quoted as having said, “if I do not awake–Viva Peron!”

She was born May 7, 1919, in Los Toldos, a village of Buenos Aires province, youngest of five children of Juan Duarte and Juana Ibarguren. Her father died while she was still a child, and her mother moved to the near-by town of Junin and opened a boarding house.

After two years of high school, still in her mid-teens, the slim blonde girl went to Buenos Aires on her own to seek an acting career. Through characteristic persistence, she was able to land a permanent job with Radio Belgrano, a major station, after several fruitless excursions into both radio and motion pictures.

Finding favor with her employers and several government officials, she rose from a starting salary of $35 a month to about $1,000 a month in 1943, and seven times that figure the next year. In 1944 her monthly income was reportedly $15,000, half of which was paid for her motion-picture performances.

It was in 1943 that she met at a studio party Col. Juan D. Peron, a 49-year-old widower who was Under-Secretary of the War Ministry and a rising figure on the political scene. Both evidently were impressed, for a close association resulted, and they were married secretly in October, 1945.

Aided Radio Employees Union
Even before her marriage, Evita, as she preferred to be known, began to broaden her interests to suit those of her future husband. While he was becoming the champion of the “decamisados,” originally the shirtless, and later the shirtsleeved ones, as Minister of Labor, she helped organize a radio employee’s union and undertook her first campaigns for the underprivileged.

When Colonel Peron was forced to resign from the Government in October, 1945, Senorita Duarte was dismissed from her radio post. Within a week, however, he had returned to power, and four months later he was elected President and took Senora Peron, then 26, to the executive mansion as his wife.

From then on her activities, wealth and influence expanded rapidly. She set up offices in the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, there holding daily audiences and distributing food, medicine and money to petitioners. In 1947 she incorporated the Maria Eva Duarte de Peron Welfare Foundation, which carried on much of this work.

Spreading with her welfare work was her personal propaganda machinery. Large pictures of the handsome “presidenta” appeared throughout Argentina. Many of her gifts were accompanied by highly colored speeches emphasizing her warm heart, generosity and affection for the people. These sentiments were echoed by a large part of the Argentine press, which was coming under Peronista control financially as well as politically.

Growth of Political Influence
Although Senora Peron insisted repeatedly that she was only interested in social work, political observers began to credit her with influence in Government affairs that was second only to her husband’s–if indeed that.

In 1947 Senora Peron made a tour of Europe that was considered highly significant politically. She was feted with great enthusiasm in Madrid and decorated by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. In Rome she had a half-hour audience with Pope Pius XII, and was the subject of several leftist demonstrations. She was received by President Vincent Auriol in Paris, but canceled plans to visit England.

One of Senora Peron’s several legislative triumphs was won in September, 1947, when a bill giving women the right to vote in Argentina was approved. This brought another round of eulogies from the press.

The first lady’s power to control unfavorable press commentary was considerable. Time magazine was banned in Argentina for four months after it published an article on Senora Peron that was not considered flattering. In 1948 her press campaign became avowedly personal with the publication of a weekly signed column, “Eva Peron Says.”

Her political influence was credited as being instrumental in forcing the resignation of the entire minority bloc in the Argentine Parliament in August, 1948. She took an active part in the campaign to “reform” the Argentine Constitution four months later.

For nearly a month early in 1949 Army officials exerted pressure on the President to curb his wife’s activities, but the movement was unsuccessful, and two months later she played an important role in the resignation of Dr. Juan Bramugha as Foreign Minister.

In the fall of 1950 reports were circulated in Buenos Aires that Senora Peron had ambitions for elective office. The rumors hinted that she would seek the Vice Presidency in the 1952 election on the ticket with her husband.

Early in 1951 the Perons started a high-pressure campaign to have themselves drafted as a husband and wife team to run the country. By late August they had “agreed” to “accept” the nominations for President and Vice President of the Peronista party.

After taking four days to make up her mind, Evita told a demonstration audience of 250,000 in Plaza Moreno that she and her husband would “do what the people want.”

Then on the last day of the month, she changed her mind and declined the nomination. In a choked voice on the same broadcast that on which she had announced her decision, Senora Peron said she had hoped history would say: “There was a woman alongside General Peron who took to him the hopes and needs of the people to satisfy them, and her name was Evita.”

Senora Peron’s book: “The Purpose of My Life,” published in 1951, had the widest distribution of any book printed in Spanish in Argentina, and the Chamber of Deputies later made it compulsory reading in the schools.

 

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About Michael L. Grace