Monday, July 3, 2017

the last book I ever read (Evita, First Lady: A Biography of Eva Perón, excerpt eight)

from Evita, First Lady: A Biography of Eva Perón by John Barnes:

She appealed for a ‘patriotic’ boycott of the paper. Her Ministry of Information plastered the city with posters reading ‘La Prensa against the country’, and the State radio attacked it three times a day for 28 days. But to Evita’s dismay, she found out that as much as she attacked it so its circulation increased. She embarked on tougher measures. The paper was told that long lines of would-be advertisers blocked traffic. Two boilers in its rotogravure plant were condemned and the paper was forced to close down while they were replaced. A new customs duty, back-dated twelve years, was levied on its imported newsprint. Citing a national shortage, the government removed thousands of tons of newsprint already in the paper’s warehouse. For the same reason it ordered a cut in the number of pages each day, first to 16 pages, then to 12. Armed federal police raided the newspaper’s editorial offices after it published a story on the torture of political prisoners. Perón sued it for libel. Evita decreed restrictions on classified advertising, the paper’s lifeblood. Houses could only be advertised on certain days. On others, only job seekers could buy space. Government employment advertisements had to be run free. And to further intimidate La Prensa readers, people who wanted to place advertisements in the paper had to get government permission, which meant that their names would go down on police files as being anti-Perónista. But Gainza Paz still refused to stop his attacks on the government, and the paper’s circulation continued to soar from a pre-war 250,000 to over half a million. When Evita cut its newsprint supply yet again, porteños passed each day’s copy from hand to hand. In the end, thanks to Evita’s war on it, La Prensa, for all its faults, had become a symbol of embattled freedom, a rallying point for the government’s enemies. It had to die.

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