January 21, 2007 / 1:42 PM / 13 years ago

FACTBOX-Key facts about Argentina's Isabel Peron

(Reuters) - Here are key facts about Argentine ex-President Isabel Peron, arrested on Friday in Spain on an international warrant issued by an Argentine judge who wants to question her in his investigation of killings of leftists during her 1974-1976 rule.

* Born Maria Estela Martinez Cartas on February 4, 1931, in La Rioja, Argentina, she adopted her saint’s name, Isabel, during her career as a dancer.

* In the mid-1950s she met former Argentine President Juan Domingo Peron when she was touring Latin America with a dance group. He was living in exile after being ousted in a military coup. She was more than 30 years his junior and became his third wife.

* Peron came out of exile, returning to Argentina in 1973, and Isabel was his vice presidential running mate when they won the election in September that year. Argentines called her Isabelita, or Little Isabel. But she never won their hearts like Peron’s second wife, Eva Peron, or Evita, who is adored by many to this day for her work on behalf of the poor.

* Isabel Peron became president after her husband died in July 1974.

* Although she had actively campaigned for her husband and helped to prepare his return to power, she struggled in her role as Argentina’s first female president in an era marked by splits in the Peronist party and escalating violence between leftist guerrillas and right-wing death squads. Human rights groups say up to 2,000 people were abducted or murdered by government-linked death squads during her two years in power.

* She was thrown out of power by a military junta in 1976 and held under house arrest in Argentina until 1981, when she went into exile in Spain. She has lived there ever since.

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