Perón, María Estela Martínez de (1931–)

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Perón, María Estela Martínez de (1931–)

María Estela Martínez de Perón (Isabel; b. 4 February 1931), third wife of General Juan Domingo Perón and president of Argentina (1974–1976) and vice president (1973–1974). Born in La Rioja, María Estela was the youngest of six children born into a middle-class family. In 1934 the family moved to Buenos Aires, where María Estela attended elementary school. In 1951, when she was twenty, she entered the National School of Dance.

Known as Isabel, a name she adopted when she was a professional dancer with a touring nightclub company, she met the exiled Perón in Panama and became his companion/secretary in December 1955. They were married in Spain in November 1961. Since Perón had been forbidden to return to Argentina, she acted as his emissary on three different occasions. After his return on 17 November 1972, he became a candidate for a third term in office. In an attempt to neutralize Peronist factionalism, he selected Isabel as his running mate. They received 62 percent of the vote in the September 1973 presidential election. As violence among his supporters increased, Perón's economic recovery plan fell apart. On 1 July 1974, he died, and Isabel was sworn in, thus becoming the first female head of state in the Americas. Less than two years later, on 24 March 1976, as the country seemed to drift into anarchy, she was deposed by a military coup. Tried and convicted of corruption charges, she was kept under house arrest until 6 July 1981. After her release, she settled once again in Spain.

In January 2007, a federal judge requested the INTERPOL intervene to capture her because of an investigation of the disappearance of a student in February 1976. On January 12, she was arrested in Villanueva de la Cañada. During the verdict, she went against voluntary extradition and therefore, had to go to the Court Office every other week.

See alsoArgentina: The Twentieth Century .


Joseph A. Page, Perón: A Biography (1983).

Robert D. Crassweller, Perón and the Enigmas of Argentina (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Gravovsky, Julian. Bibliografía sobre María Estela Martínez de Perón. Buenos Aires: S.J.L., 1987.

Laezman, Rick. 100 Hispanic Americans: Who Changed American History. Milwaukee, WI: World Almanac Library, 2005.

Martínez, Domingo; Pleguezuelo, Alfonso; and Aranda Bernal, Ana María. Domingo Martínez en la estela de Murillo: Centro Cultural El Monte, Sevilla, Mayo-Junio 2004. Sevilla: Fundación El Monte, 2004.

Perón, Isabel. Mensaje a los trabajadores del mundo: La señora vice presidente María Estela Martínez de Perón habla en la 59a. reunión de la O.I.T. Buenos Aires: Presidencia de la Nación, Secretaría de Prensa y Difusión, 1974.

Sáenz Quesada, María. Isabel Perón: La Argentina en los años de María Estela Martínez. Buenos Aires: Grupo Editorial Planeta, 2003.

                                      Marysa Navarro

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Perón, María Estela Martínez de (1931–)

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