BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- One hundred people dressed up as Evita Perón and paraded in the streets of Argentina's capital Monday, a day before the 100th anniversary of the birth of the charismatic first lady.
Eva María Duarte, who died in 1952 from cancer at age 33, was an actress who became the second wife of Juan Perón, an army general who served as president for two different spans.
Best known as "Evita," she was idolized as a "champion of the poor" and helped women obtain the right to vote.
The performers marched through the streets of Buenos Aires to a building decorated with a large cast-iron portrait of Evita. Some wore her trademark top-knot hairstyle, while others donned ballroom dresses in homage to the combative first lady.
"We want to highlight the image of Eva Peron as a combative woman. As feminists, we believe in her struggle," said Nora Elia Savio, an actress. "In her time, she fought for our rights."
Evita's persona has transcended time and borders.
The global fascination began in the 1970s with Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical "Evita." Then came Alan Parker's film starring Madonna based on the musical, and it was followed by Evita's dresses shown at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of a Christian Dior exhibit.
The Evita Museum in Buenos Aires recently inaugurated an exhibition titled "Childhood and Peronism, the toys of the Eva Perón Foundation" to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth.