Eva Perón

2012 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the death of Eva Peron

2012 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the death of Eva Peron

Maria Eva Duarte de Perón was the second wife of President Juan Perón, and served as First Lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952 from cancer.

She originally pursued a career as a stage, radio and film actress, but after meeting Colonel Juan Perón in 1944 she became a powerful political figure. She founded and ran the charitable Eva Perón Foundation, ran the Ministries of Labor and Health, championed women’s suffrage in Argentina, and founded and ran the nation’s first large-scale female political party, the Female Peronist Party.

In 1951 she announced her candidacy for the office of Vice President of Argentina, receiving great support, but had to withdraw when her health deteriorated due to cervical cancer. Shortly before her death at the age of 33 she was given the title of ‘Spiritual Leader of the Nation’ by the Argentine Congress, and when she died she was given a state funeral, her body embalmed.

‘Evita’s Odysey’ tells the fascinating tale of what happened to her body over the next two decades – in Argentina and Europe. It’s an extraordinary story – one that takes in grave-robbing, kidnap, murder, a revolutionary guerrilla group, and the occult. It also provides a fascinating glimpse of Argentina before it descended into its darkest and bloodiest days of military dictatorship in the 1970s.

Visit the BBC website for ’Evita’s Odyssey’, available on Radio 4

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