It’s not everyday that the body of a famous historical figure rides through the streets. So, I took a break yesterday and walked over to Paseo Colón for the sendoff for Perón. The reburial of his body from the Chacarita cemetery to an expensive mausoleum in San Vicente, south of Buenos Aires, has been well covered by an article in the New York Times and elsewhere.

Tuesday morning the coffin of Perón was transported from the cemetery to the headquarters of the CGT labor union, the bastion of all things Perón. It was a very manly affair. The blocks surrounding the CGT were filled mainly by working men, most wearing hard hats. An odd sight that I should have photographed was the dozens of these guys lined up on the massive steps of the University of Buenos Aires School of Engineering, located across from the CGT. They were a contrast to the students I normally see around there.

Some workers took a rest while they waited.


I estimate that 90% of the crowd were men from the labor unions. About 5% were media and the occasional person like myself who just came by for the spectacle. The remaining 5% were the loyal Peronist, like this mother-daughter pair with the picture of Evita, which they claimed was actually signed by Evita herself.


When it finally came time for the long journey from the CGT everyone jumped to their feet, ran onto Paseo Colón, climbed statues, and pushed for position while singing the Peronist anthem.


It was a false alert as it was only ex-president Duhalde and his wife Chiche walking down the street.

Then came an honor guard, trying to make space through cheering crowd :


The crowd surged when Perón’s casket was wheeled down the street. Until then I had a good view but was immediately swamped by dozens of people making their way towards the remains of Perón. Riding atop Perón’s casket were Hugo Moyano and other millionaires labor union leaders with big smiles on their faces.


As mentioned by fellow BA blogger Ian, the day’s events turned ugly once the procession arrived at the new mausoleum. It’s really not surprising considering that some of the guys were well on their way to drunk by midday, like this guy in the white CGT t-shirt guzzling cheap wine out of a tetra pak.