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A toy baby carriage of the "Childhood and Peronism, the toys of the Eva Perón Foundation" exhibit is displayed at the Evita Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Long before politicians started using social media platforms to influence public opinion, Peronism adopted a different strategy: handing out toys, like this baby carriage, to 4 million children from Argentina’s poorest families. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
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A visitor sits near a toy pedal car of the "Childhood and Peronism, the toys of the Eva Perón Foundation" exhibit at the Evita Museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. To mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Argentina’s so-called "champion of the poor" on May 7, 1919, the Evita Museum in Buenos Aires has inaugurated the exhibit, which displays several dozen of the toys distributed by the party on Christmas Day and the holiday of Epiphany between 1948 and 1955. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – A half-deflated leather football, a box of marbles and a ragged doll line the display cabinets in the Evita Museum like ancient relics. These worn-out toys played a vital role in the rise of Peronism in Argentina, one of Latin America's most influential movements.
Long before politicians started using social media to influence public opinion, the movement of Juan Perón and his second wife also sought to touch voters on a personal level: handing out toys to 4 million children to poor children. The practice was fundamental to the popularity of Peronism, which persisted far beyond the deaths of Perón and wife Eva María Duarte, famously known as Evita.
To mark the 100th anniversary of her birth, the Evita Museum in Buenos Aires has inaugurated an exhibition of the toys.