Decades after death, Chile’s Neruda to be exhumed after accusation of murder
Source: reuters.comThe body of Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, dead nearly four decades, will be exhumed after his former driver declared the poet was poisoned under Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, a judge said on Monday.
A woman looks at a painting of Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda during a ceremony the 30th anniversary of his death, in Isla Negra, west of Santiago, September 23, 2003
Neruda, famed for his passionate love poems and staunch communist views, is presumed to have died from prostate cancer on September 23, 1973.
But Manuel Araya, who was Neruda’s chauffer during the sick writer’s last few months, says agents of the dictatorship took advantage of his ailment to inject poison into his stomach while he was bedridden at the Santa Maria clinic in Santiago.
Neruda was a supporter of socialist President Salvador Allende, who was toppled in a military coup on September 11, 1973, nearly two weeks before the poet’s death at age 69. Around 3,000 people are thought to have been killed by the brutal 17-year long Pinochet dictatorship that ensued.
Neruda is buried in his windswept, coastal home of Isla Negra beside his third wife, Matilde Urrutia. He will be dug up during the first half of April, Judge Mario Carroza said.
Ricardo Eliecer Neftali Reyes Basoalto, better known by his pen name Pablo Neruda, was a larger-than-life fixture in Chile’s literary and political scene.
While best known for his intense collection "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair," published in 1924, Neruda was also an important political activist during a turbulent time in Chile.
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