Isabel Peron

Updated on Apr 21, 2004 12:02 PM IST

Never in modern world history did a cabaret dancer rise to become a country's President only to be exiled.

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Isabel Martínez had an extraordinary life. Never in modern world history did a night club cabaret dancer rise to become the President of a country only to be exiled. Argentinean President Juan Perón met her during his exile in Paraguay and was smitten by her beauty.

Perón, alone after the death of his second and famous wife Evita, married Isabel in 1960 despite stiff resistance. As Perón's wife, Isabel began to play an active role in Argentinean politics and often represented him by proxy.

In 1973 Perón returned to Argentina and run for president. In an controversial move, he chose Isabel as his running mate. And when Perón died in 1974, an year after his election, Isabel assumed the presidency.

But her reign turned out to be shaky and she constantly faced allegation that her occultist, Rasputin-like friend José López Rega pulled the strings. Eventually she fired him but that could not save her. After a bloodless military coup on March 24, 1976, she was deposed and put under house arrest. After five years of detention, she was sent into exile in 1981.

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