Controversial, mysterious, sinister… First, he gained the trust of María Estela Martínez de Perón, better known as Isabeland, in part of the old caudillo, before his return to the country and the beginning of his third presidency. But, in his own way, he also had a relationship with the other woman of Juan Domingo Peron… 70 years after the death of 70 years after Eva Perón’s last message: how was the act in Plaza de Mayo how was the operation of José López Rega to repatriate the body.
In 1972, after a long exile, Perón returned to the country. On the flight that returned him to Argentina, the body of María Eva Duarte did not come with him. The kidnapped and outraged corpse of Evita had been returned to the former president on September 3, 1971 at his residence in Puerta de Hierro, in Madrid, in the last stretch of his exile that would last 18 years.
Already installed in the country, a year after his definitive return, Perón was elected president for the third time in 1973 and his wife Isabel accompanied him in the vice presidency. In the midst of a convulsed country, with a deep social crisis, The third term of the old leader was interrupted by his death, which occurred on July 1, 1974.
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It was then that Isabel assumed the presidency, with an evident influence of the Minister of Social Welfare, precisely López Rega. As an attempt to respond to the prevailing violence unleashed in the country, the president and her extremely trusted official decided to repatriate Eva’s remains, as a symbol of pacification among the Peronists.
And in that operation, the return of Evita’s body had a lot to do with the “Wizard”, such a nickname that López Rega knew how to earn for his attachment to esotericism. Eva’s remains arrived in the country on November 17, 1974, little more than four months after Perón’s death.
the remains they were deposited in a burning chapel next to those of Perón in the presidential residence of Olivos and were to remain there until the coup d’état of March 24, 1976. After arduous debates about what to do with them, Perón’s body was taken to the Chacarita cemetery and Eva’s handed over to the family, to be buried under strict security measures, in the family pantheon of the La Recoleta cemetery.
70 years after the death of Eva Perón: the return of the body
Although Perón was unable to repatriate Evita’s remains, he at least had the opportunity to meet them again in Spain. The return of the body of his second wife took place on Friday, September 3, 1971 in Puerta de Hierro. The remains entered Spain under a false name: María Maggi de Magistris. That name was on the headstone of the tomb in the Major Cemetery of Milan, where he had been buried since May 13, 1957.
Evita’s tombstone and secret tomb were always cared for. Money for its maintenance regularly arrived at the Milan cemetery. For the Vatican, the management to exhume the body was made by the person who signed the restitution act as Father Alessandro Angeli, who was actually the priest and journalist Giulio Madurini.
The person in charge of the operation of the entry of the body to Spain, was the then Argentine ambassador Brigadier Jorge Rojas Silveyra. One detail: the body was restored almost coinciding with the time the former first lady died. Realizing this, it was decided to wait to reach Iron Gate. The delivery was exactly at 21:10 (Spanish time).
A document was issued that confirmed that Rojas Silveyra handed over the body to Perón: “He has proceeded to deliver to Mr. Juan Domingo Perón, with his full agreement, a mortuary box that contains the mortal remains of his wife Mrs. MARIA EVA DUARTE DE PERÓN”.
Those who signed this document were: “General Perón, Argentine Ambassador Rojas Silveyra, Father Angelo (Italian), Colonel Cabanillas (the same one who hid the body for 16 years) and Jorge Paladino and José López Rega.”
Cabanillas and Perón shook hands without complaint: “It was all very formal, it was an almost military greeting,” said Perón’s delegate in the country, Jorge Daniel Paladino. Paladino helped Perón open the coffin. “We did not want to notify any mortuary house, a specialist in the subject, because the Spanish law said that the body should be buried,” he explained.
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Dr. Pedro Ara, Eva Duarte’s embalmer, once said: “It was on Saturday, September 4, 1971, at 9 in the morning when the phone rang. Mr. López Rega, on behalf of General Perón, begged me to go visit them. I was cordially received by General Perón, his wife, Isabel Martínez, and his right-hand man, Mr. López Rega. The three were moved; plus the general. Together we entered a long hall. In the background, on a table, was an old and ordinary coffin already open”.
“I think there is no doubt, but we are going to examine everything,” Ara responded to Perón’s query about whether she really was his wife. “At first glance, the spectacle was pitifully impressive: humidity and dirt. Without the slightest disorder in her hairstyle, her hair appeared wet and dirty. The rusty hairpins snapped between our fingers. The general’s wife began to undo Eva’s braids to ventilate and dry her hair and clean it of rust and dirt., explained the doctor at the time. This was the reunion of Perón and Evita.