Meet Argentina

The famous Argentinians

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CAR04. CARACAS (VENEZUELA), 05/07/06.- Los presidentes de Argentina, Néstor Kirchner (i); Venezuela, Hugo Chávez (2i); Bolivia, Evo Morales (2d), y Paraguay, Nicanor Duarte, observan el paso de varias aeronaves durante el desfile conmemorativo del 195 aniversario de la Independencia de Venezuela celebrado hoy en Caracas (Venezuela). EFE

Argentina has produced many characters that have played an important part in world events. This has been seen in a variety of fields including on the stage, on the sports pitch and even in the political arena. There are few that can have had a greater influence on World politics than Che Guevara. Born in Rosario in 1928 he trained as a medical student and on his travel through South America he became disillusioned with the wide spread poverty that people were suffering.

The famous picture of Che Guevara

He believed that this was caused by the interference of the US in the region and he was soon promoting Socialist ideals. After initially becoming involved in Guatemala’s social reforms, he met with Raul and Fidel Castro and then played a pivotal role in the 2 year campaign to overthrow the Batista regime in Cuba. Between 1959 and 1965 he played a number of roles in implementing communism into Cuba. He was involved with agrarian land reform, the country’s literacy program and even served as the National bank’s president. During this time he wrote extensively and in 1965 he travelled to Bolivia to assist the revolutionaries, where he was captured by the Government and executed.

He is remembered today for the part he played in the political struggles within the region and in fact even 50 years after his death millions of “t” shirts are sold every year with his picture of them. The image taken in 1960 by Alberta Korda symbolizes counter-culture and is sold in many chic fashion outlets around the world. Another Argentine face that represents the battle of the fight against oppression is that of Eva Peron who with her husband fought valiantly to represent the country’s population against the dictatorship that had been put in place by the army.

Better known as Evita she started out in life as an actress before marrying Juan Peron. The social reforms and political policies put in place by her husband’s government benefited the working class people of the nation. She fought valiantly for equal rights championing the rights of women but tragically died from cancer at the young age of 33. The impression that she had left on the country is such a short period of time was reflected with the musical that was written about her life. Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice it was first performed in 1978 in London’s West End and has also been staged on Broadway. In 1996 it was adapted into a film with Madonna playing Eva and it being nominated for five Academy Awards.

Eva Peron speaking at a political rally

Another lady to have a made a real impression on the politics within the country is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. She was the first female to be elected President of the country in 2007 and served in the post until 2015. Born in La Plata in 1953 she studied Law at the city’s university and moved to Patagonia after her graduation. Her husband, Nestor Kirchner served as President between 2003 and 2007 and she took over from him representing the Justicialist Party.

In her time as president she proved to be quite controversial as she has strived to pursue her socialist ideals. Certain companies were re-nationalized and she had a fractious relationship with both Britain and the United States. There are a number of Argentinians who have performed well in the world of motor racing. Juan Manuel Fangio was born in Balcarce in 1911 and from an early age he loved to race motor cars. After competing in the Grand Prix International Championship he then competed in the formative years of Formula One.

From 1950 he won five of the first eight driver’s championships. He managed to do this with four different teams, Mercedes, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati. No driver has repeated this and his percentage of winning 46% of his races is the highest of all times. On retirement he became the president of Mercedes-Benz in Argentina and in 1976 his own museum as built and named after him in the city of his birth, Balcarce, in the Bueons Aire region.

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