Did I love her?
What a strange question. I am not a man after all. I was the New Argentina, the voice of the people. They loved her, so I loved her. Some of them still love her. Some of them hate her. Where does that leave me? Royally screwed up, that’s where.
Now, I don’t carry any man’s name. That’s the mother of misconceptions. They carry mine. Pal, buddy, friend, comrade, amigo, freund -- whatever people call each other once they start noticing their neighbour’s stomach is as empty as their own. I give them their visions. It’s not up to me what they do with it. People let me down a lot. Want to talk about what they did to my name in Russia? I could talk for hours. There’s bitterness aplenty there. At least Guevara died too soon to really disappoint me.
See, that’s the problem with Evita. She didn’t. Once she hit the grave, she had already proven she couldn’t keep a promise. She might be able to make herself a saint, but I would have preferred a good politician, a government instead of a stage.
I always knew of her past, but that’s the way of our Cinderella stories. If a bastard girl from nowhere is to reach the top, she has to rely on more than a good heart. So she turned men into johns without their knowledge. It just proved the girl had spirit. When she turned Perón into a john I was still cheering on. He was a bit of a fascist and no use to me, but if she could take power over him she could take power over the country, and back then I still thought she was on my side. Maybe she was, once upon a time.
She turned me into a john too, and I hate her for it. I was the one who stood by her side all the way, applauded every one of her conquests. I believed her when she said it was all for her descamisados, her shirtless. I was the descamisados, and I still am. The funny thing is, they still don’t have shirts. All that money she threw up in the air disappeared rather quickly once she was gone. It wasn’t as if she had done any actual reforms. That wouldn’t be glamourous enough for Santa Evita.
I honestly thought I was different, that she really meant what she said. Then as the years went by when she did nothing at all, it became harder and harder to make excuses for her. Until the day I realized that she was actually dying, and still hadn’t lived up to the cult around her. I confronted her about it, and she admitted the compromise, not in regret, but with pride. All of my ideals had been thrown down the drain, and that she called ”realism”. She even mocked me when I spoke to her, claimed her way was better. All those things she gave up for her survival, and yet she couldn’t add a single day to her life. She should have given herself to me. I have fire and strength to give, but instead she tried to give of her own, make herself a goddess... foolish girl. What I demanded was insecticide. She just waved away a few flies.
I won’t deny that now and then she did do something good, but it was corrupted by that wish to be the Queen, the benign giver. But how could she give anything to them that didn’t already belong to them? They bowed down to her, grateful that she gave them scraps of what was once stolen from them. A whole country of johns, and I was their leader. Well, not anymore. The forgotten brigade is remarkably memorable.
Eva of nowhere de Perón...
What a bright shining light she once was.