Perón, Isabel (1931–)
Perón, Isabel (1931–)
Argentine president. Name variations: María Estela Martínez de Perón; Isabelita. Pronunciation: Pay-rone. Born María Estela Martínez Cartas, Feb 4, 1931, in the province of La Rioja, Argentina; dau. of Marcelo Martínez Rosales (branch manager of National Mortgage Bank) and María Josefa Cartas; left school after 6th grade to study ballet, Spanish dancing, French and piano; became 3rd wife of Juan Domingo Perón (president of Argentina, 1946–55, 1973–74), in Madrid, Spain, Nov 15, 1961; no children.
President of Argentina (1974–76) and head of Argentina's largest political party, the Peronist Party (1974–85), who was the 1st woman chief executive of a Latin American nation and the 1st female head of state in the Western Hemisphere; joined Cervantes dance troupe (1955); while dancing with Joe Herald's ballet in Panama City, met Juan Perón during his exile from Argentina (1956); became his private secretary; followed him in exile to Venezuela, Dominican Republic, and finally Spain; married him (1961) and assumed role as his political representative; traveled to Argentina to promote Peronist candidates in provincial elections (1964); spent 9 months in Argentina promoting husband's cause (1965) and supervising provincial election campaigns that the Peronists swept; returned to Argentina (Dec 1971–Mar 1972) to prepare for national elections and head off challenges to husband's leadership; traveled to Argentina with husband, who had spent 17 years in exile (Nov 1972); nominated for vice-president at Peronist Party convention where husband was nominated for president (Aug 1973); with Peronists' victory, became husband's vice-president; appeared at state functions when husband became ill (late 1973); spoke to the International Labor Organization in Geneva and met with Pope Paul (June 1974); called home to Argentina to assume the presidency after husband's death (July 1, 1974); declared state of siege to combat economic and political chaos (Nov 1974); took leave from presidency for health reasons (Sept 1975); despite increasing opposition, determined to complete her term; succumbed to a military coup and placed under house arrest (Mar 1976); returned to Spain (1981); was official head of Peronist Party (until 1985); lives in Madrid, Spain, but makes frequent visits to Argentina.
See also Women in World History.