Subject: Day 5 February 23, Onto Ushuaia
First a little more history, after Juan Peron there was a military coupe which toppled the Peron regime, and a military junta ruled Argentina from 1955 until 1972 when the military junta was replaced by a democratic form of government. During the period of the military rule over 30,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 30 disappeared. They are still unaccounted for today. Every Thursday many surviving mothers come to Memory Square and walk around the 25 May 1810 Monument, which commemorates Argentina independence from Spain, and the mothers demand accountability. However the Government doesn’t appear to be doing anything about it.
Another interesting story about Eva Peron is when she died in 1952, Juan Peron had her mummified and he kept her in his office. During the military coupe she was discovered. They were afraid that if the people saw her, because she was so loved by the poor masses, she would be a rallying point for a revolt. Therefore, she was given to the head of the secret service to hide. He put her in a closet in his office, but unfortunately he was a necrophile and fell in love with the mummy. When that was discovered they sent her to the Vatican in Rome to be buried: however the Vatican didn’t want to deal with it so they sent her to Spain where she was finally buried. The Vatican sent a letter to the military junta telling them where she was sent in Spain. When the military junta was overthrown, the letter was discovered and the body was returned to Argentina for burial. A strange and macabre story, but true. Of course she ended up in an aristocratic cemetery and buried in a very ornate mausoleum where supposedly she is buried in such a way that she can never be removed. There were fresh flowers on the grave and a plaque on the side of the Mausoleum saying in Spanish “Eva Peron 1922 - 1952 Don’t Cry for me Argentina”. So Andrew Lloyd Weber borrowed that line in his song in the musical “Evita” from the actual tomb. Since Eva Peron was an idol of the poor being buried in an aristocratic cemetery was a final cruel ending to a tragic story.
The first night garbage pickers that we saw are called “cartorneros” which is Buenos Aires recycling center. They go through the trash and sort cardboard, plastic and paper. They used to get 50 cents per kilogram but now only make about 15 cents. The economy is hard up all over the world.
The above was written on the 3 hour airplane ride to Ushuaia. After landing we toured Tierra del Fuego National Park, unbelievable place. The temperature has dropped about 30 degrees from Buenos Aires, in fact our room doesn’t even have air conditioning and we are typing this with the window open and a gorgeous view of the Beagle Channel. The Beagle Channel connects the Atlantic with the Pacific oceans. Pictures attached show the end of the Pan American Highway 17,848 kilometers from Alaska and the farthest point in the inhabited world. This is really a beautiful place and we wile get on the boat tomorrow after touring more of Terra del Fuego.
More to follow,
Tom & Holly