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Isabel Martínez de Perón

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President Peron giving a speech

Isabel Martínez de Perón was born Isabel Martínez on February 4, 1931 in La Rioja, Argentina. She would become the third wife of Juan Perón and President of Argentina from July of 1974 to March of 1976.

She met her future husband during his exile in Paraguay. At the time Isabel was a nightclub dancer. Perón was attracted to her beauty, and believed she could provide him with the female companionship he had been lacking since the death of his second wife, Evita.

Perón brought Isabel with him when he moved to Spain in 1960. Authorities in the strongly Catholic nation did not approve of Perón's living arangements with this young woman, so in 1961 the former president reluctantly got married for a third time.

As Perón began to return to an active role in Argentinian politics, Isabel would often be used as a go-between from Spain to South America. Perón was forbiddon from returning to Argentina, so his new wife would travel in his place, and report back to him when she returned.

It was also around this time that Isabel met José López Rega[?], an occult philosopher and fortune teller. Isabel was quite interested in such matters, so the two became fast friends. Under pressure from Isabel, Perón appointed Rega as his personal secretary.

In 1973 Perón was persuaded to return to Argentina and run for president. He agreed, and chose Isabel as his running mate in a surprisingly uncontroversial move. Isabel had very little politicial experience or ambitions, and had a very different personality from Evita, who had been denied the post of Vice President years earlier.

Perón died in 1974, less than a year after being elected. Isabel assumed the presidency. By this time, Jose López Rega, who had been slowly consolidating his power over the years by controlling Isabel, emerged as the clear power behind the throne - a notion which greatly frightened the military. Isabel agreed to fire López, and the military concluded that during Argentina's current climate of widespread strikes and political terrorism, a weak-willed and unexperienced woman would not be a suitable president. In 1976 she was kidnapped and deposed in a bloodless coup, and sent into exile.

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