|Vintage Pulp||Apr 1 2011|
We located a worn-out copy of Inside News from April 1964, and on the cover it promises assorted criminal atrocities and indeed delivers. But the piece that really caught our eye (because of some similarities to the current situation of Italy’s buffoon-in-chief Silvio Berlusconi) is the story on Argentine ex-president Juan Perón and his fourteen-year-old mistress Nelida Rivas. The relationship was not something Perón was trying hard to keep secret—he had met her in late 1952 and she soon became a frequent companion. The public was generally forgiving because Rivas was too young to know better and Perón was a widower, his wife Evita having died in mid-1952. Still, he was sometimes grilled by the press and often criticized by opponents. In the end, it was opposition from the Catholic Church that triggered his undoing. His scorn for what he saw as their meddling in his personal business caused him to take a series of political steps that helped justify his excommunication by Pope Pius XII. When this Inside News hit the stands, Perón was living in exile in Spain. To say that his relationship with Nelly Rivas cost him the presidency of Argentina—as Inside News does—is a stretch. But it is fair to say that Perón’s enemies were able to turn Rivas into a mighty handy weapon. Berlusconi take heed.