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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 August 2006, 00:17 GMT 01:17 UK
Mausoleum bid for Peron and Evita
By Daniel Schweimler
BBC News, Buenos Aires

The former President of Argentina, Juan Domingo Peron, has been dead for 32 years but he is still managing to stir up controversy from the grave.

Juan Domingo Peron
The remains of Peron and Evita lie in different cemeteries

His supporters are planning to move his remains to a family mausoleum where they hope eventually they will lie side by side in peace with his second wife, known around the world as Evita.

But the move is fraught with problems.

Peron provoked intense emotion when he served as president from 1946 to 1955, and again in the early 1970s.

Many - especially among the working classes - loved him and honour his memory.

Others, predominantly from the country's wealthy elite, hated him.

He died in 1974, leaving Argentina in turmoil - but at least, thought his supporters, while the country suffered, their leader would rest in peace.

How wrong they were.

Stolen body

In 1987, thieves broke into his tomb and sawed off his hands, demanding an $8m ransom for their return.

Tomb of Evita
Evita's body was stolen at one stage

Now there are plans to move Peron's remains from the sedate Chacarita cemetery to a family mausoleum, leaving him at the trade union headquarters for a day so that his supporters can pay homage.

But when his nephew went this week to prepare for the journey, he was met by angry protesters who want their hero left alone.

Security guards stepped in.

The memory of Juan Domingo Peron is always a political issue in Argentina, and the Peronist movement wants the approval of President Nestor Kirchner - himself a staunch Peronist - for the move.

Peron's second wife, the beautiful Eva Duarte - better known as Evita - has not been able to rest in peace either since her death in 1952 aged just 33.

Her body was stolen and lay in an anonymous Italian grave for 16 years before being laid to rest several kilometres on the other side of Buenos Aires at the rich persons' Recoleta cemetery.

Now their supporters in Argentina and the romantics want the couple to again rest side by side, this time in peace and tranquillity.


SEE ALSO
1952: Eva Peron dies
28 Apr 04 |  26
Timeline: Argentina
24 Aug 06 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Argentina
03 Jun 06 |  Country profiles

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