Eva Perón became famous for her visit to Europe in 1947 when, as representative of an Argentina  that emerged from World War II as an economic powerhouse, she helped legitimize a shaky Franco regime in Spain and, despite missteps, impressed other war-ravaged European countries with Argentina’s potential. But even her death, five years later, did not stop her from touring.
She then found a temporary resting place at the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT, the Peronist trade union), where the shadowy Spanish physician Pedro Ara gave the body a mummification treatment worthy of Lenin in preparation for a monument to honor her legacy.
Evita remained at the CGT until 1955, when anti-Peronist General Pedro Aramburu took power and ordered her removal. Eventually, after a series of whistle-stops that included the office of an officer who apparently became infatuated with the mummy, Aramburu shipped her to an anonymous grave near Milan, Italy—even as a cadaver, Evita was a symbolic reminder of Peronism’s durability.
Despite banning the party, Aramburu had reason to worry. For many years Argentines dared not even speak Perón’s name while the former strongman lived in luxury near Madrid. In 1970, though, as Argentine politics came undone in an era of revolutionary ferment, left-wing Montoneros guerrillas kidnapped Aramburu and demanded to know Evita’s whereabouts.
When Aramburu refused to answer, they executed him and issued a statement that they would hold the body hostage until Evita was returned to “the people.” A common slogan of the time was “Si Evita viviera, sería Montonera” (If Evita were alive, she would be a Montonera); Perón, however, detested the leftists even as he cynically encouraged them to assist his return to power.
The police found Aramburu’s body before any postmortem prisoner swap could take place, but a notary in whom Aramburu had confided came forward with information as to Evita’s whereabouts.
In September 1971, Perón was stunned when a truck bearing Evita’s casket and corpse arrived at his Madrid residence; remarried to dancer María Estela (Isabelita) Martínez, he neither expected nor wanted any such thing. With the mummy in the attic, meanwhile, Perón’s bizarre spiritualist adviser José López Rega used the opportunity to try to transfer Evita’s essence into Isabelita’s body.
In 1973, Perón finally returned—leaving Evita in Madrid—and was soon elected president with Isabelita as his vice president. Meanwhile, the Montoneros once again kidnapped Aramburu—from his Recoleta crypt —until Evita’s return.
Angry but ill and senile, Perón died the next year, and succeeding president Isabelita flew Evita’s corpse on a charter from Madrid to the presidential residence at Olivos, just north of the capital. It stayed there until March 1976, when General Jorge Rafael Videla’s junta overthrew Perón’s living legacy.
At Recoleta , Evita finally achieved the respectability that she envied and resented during her rise to power. Though she was an illegitimate child who went by her mother’s surname, Ibarguren, she landed in the family crypt of her father, Juan Duarte, a provincial landowner—only a short walk from Aramburu’s tomb.
Even that may not end Evita’s wanderings. In mid-2002 there were rumors of yet another move—to San Telmo ’s Franciscan convent at Defensa and Alsina (ironically enough, it was set on fire by Peronist mobs in 1955, but it’s also the burial place of her confessor Pedro Errecart). Another possibility is the new mausoleum at Juan Perón’s quinta (country house) in the southern suburb of San Vicente, which holds his remains after a chaotic move from Chacarita  in late 2006 (when a brawl between rival unions erupted into gunfire).
Isabelita, for her part, was even willing to see Evita lie alongside her late husband. The main objection, it seems, is that Isabelita, former caretaker president Eduardo Duhalde, and other Peronist politicians like the idea better than the Duarte heirs do.