Evita now graces Argentina’s 100-peso note

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BUENOS AIRES -- Exalted in countless books, a Broadway musical and a Madonna movie, Argentina’s Eva Peron now graces that country’s 100-peso note in commemoration of her death 60 years ago Thursday.

In a ceremony, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said she wants the Eva Peron commemorative peso note to become permanent, replacing one featuring Julio Argentino Roca, one of the country’s early presidents.


“It seems to me to be an homage that we owe not only to her but to ourselves,” Fernandez told a gathering Wednesday at the presidential palace.

In the background was an enlarged facsimile of the bill, featuring a profile shot of the blond former dancer popularly known as Evita. She was the wife of President Juan Peron, who ruled from 1946 to 1955, and then again for nine months prior to his death in 1974.

The 100-peso note currently is valued at nearly $22.

Fernandez said a plan that arose after Evita’s death July 26, 1952, to print a peso note with her image was jettisoned after a military coup overthrew her husband’s government. But the design was hidden and later rediscovered and forms the basis of the new bill, said the president, whose populist approach is sometimes compared to that of Eva Peron. Eva Peron, the illegitimate daughter of a rancher, was idolized by poor and working-class Argentines who saw her as their benefactress. Her death from cancer at 33 meant her image did not suffer the erosion experienced by her populist husband, who was forced to flee to exile in Spain before his return 18 years later.

Her romance with Peron prior to their 1945 marriage, her connection with the masses and the 16-year disappearance of her corpse before her interment in the Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires in the 1970s is the subject of the classic book ‘Santa Evita’ by the late Argentine author Tomas Eloy Martinez. It has been translated into 30 languages.


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--Andres D’Alessandro in Buenos Aires and Chris Kraul in Bogota.