Eva Duarte

“Evita was a symbol of the ‘shirtless ones,’ ” Mr. Martinez said, referring to what she called the poor, who worshiped her. “And if the Peronists got hold of the body they would lead the masses, but the anti-Peronists were trying to destroy it and that would also mean trouble for the military.”


After being moved to a number of military installations in Buenos Aires, the book says Eva Peron’s body ended up in the house of an army major who stored it in his attic under old papers. But the body had to moved again after the major mysteriously shot his wife.

Finally, in April 1957, the military put the body on a ship bound for Italy where it was buried under a false name. Then in 1971, Gen. Alejandro A. Lanusse overthrew Gen. Juan Carlos Ongania, the Argentine military leader. In exchange for Juan Peron’s blessing from exile, General Lanusse agreed to hold elections, restore Mr. Peron’s citizenship, provide presidential back pay of $50,000 and give him the body of Eva.

The body was exhumed from a small cemetery near Rome and transported in a silver coffin to Juan Peron’s villa in Madrid. Italian and Spanish police officers accompanied the hearse. Mr. Peron kept the body in an open casket on the dining room table of his villa, where he later built a shrine for it in the attic. His third wife, Isabel, combed the corpse’s hair in a daily devotion, Mr. Martinez said.

NYTIMES 1995 regarding the book “Santa Evita”

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