Hands of Perón

In 1987 the tomb of Argentinian president Juan Perón was broken into and his hands dismembered and stolen. A ransom note was received but never paid, and the hands were never seen again.

Juan Perón
Unknown author / Public domain

There’s something about Argentina and body-napping. I’ve written before about the theft of Pedro Eugenio Aramburu’s body and the swap for Eva Perón’s corpse. That happened the same year Juan Perón, Eva’s husband, died: 1974. But the Peróns cast a longer shadow on Argentinian politics. Justicialism, also known as Peronism, has been an influence on most Argentine elections for the last half century, and it seems that some people have a problem with that.

Thirteen years after his death, someone entered the Perón family tomb, found the corpse of Juan Perón, and cut off his hands with an electric saw. A ransom note turned up at the headquarters of the political party founded by Perón demanding US$8 million before they would be returned.

The ransom was never paid, and the hands have never been recovered. All kinds of rumours still float around about the body-part-napping and its fallout. The thieves supposedly had a key to the tomb. Many of the people investigating the theft have died under suspicious circumstances: car accidents, shootings, and an asthma attack. I’m not sure how an asthma attack is suspicious – I suppose if the autopsy was wrong? One book suggests that the theft had something to do with P2 (Propaganda Due), a formerly-Masonic secret society that may have had Juan Perón as a member. But of course no-one knows for sure. Except, presumably, the perpetrators.

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