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Evita Mania Reaches Argentine Soccer After 100-Peso Bill Image

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wants this year’s national soccer championship to be named after former first lady Evita Peron, who died from cancer 60 years ago.

Five days after announcing the issue of a new 100 peso ($22) note bearing the image of Eva Duarte de Peron, the wife of former President Juan Domingo Peron, Fernandez last night urged the Argentine Football Association to commemorate her in this year’s tournament.

“On this 60th anniversary of Eva Peron’s passing into immortality, I’d like to ask that the championship be called the ‘Eva Peron Championship’ after her, and the cup be named ‘Captain Eva,”’ Peronist party member Fernandez, 59, said in a speech at the presidential palace. “Why not? Evita, captain of Argentina.”

The new bill announced on July 25, was copied from a 1952 design of a 5-peso note that was hidden for years at the country’s mint. The bill was never printed, and a military junta that toppledPeron in a 1955 coup banned all public mention of the couple.

The government’s commemoration of Evita on the new banknote comes as Argentines have been dumping their currency in favor of the U.S. dollar to ward against stalling growth in South America’s second-biggest economy and inflation that private economists estimate at 24 percent.

Evita remains an icon of the ruling Peronist party, emblazoning banners at pro-government rallies where Fernandez frequently invokes her legacy as a champion of the poor.

Fernandez last year inaugurated a 15-ton, 100-foot iron portrait of Evita, who died when she was 33, that hangs from the side of the Social Development ministry on Buenos Aires’s widest thoroughfare.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eliana Raszewski in Buenos Aires at eraszewski@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net.

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