Pablo Neruda’s body to be exhumed following inquiry into murder accusations
Forensic specialists will be exhuming the body of Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda from his burial place in Chile in order to investigate accusations that he was murdered 40 years ago.
It was previously believed that the poet died as a result of suspected prostate cancer. The official death certificate states it was an aggressive cancer that led to the malnutrition and physical deterioration of the poet.
However, after memories of the poet’s last years were related by his former driver, Manuel Araya two years ago, new theories regarding his death have been born.
Neruda died soon after the rise to power of General Augusto Pinochet which occurred as the result of a military coup.
The poet had been a close friend of President Salvadore Allende, who committed suicide to avoid being forced to surrender to Pinochet by the military coup in 1973.
Chilean lawyer Eduardo Contreras has been determined to see a more meticulous investigation into Neruda’s death take place. He believes that the close friendship Neruda had with President Allende could have resulted in his murder being orchestrated as part of a political agenda.
He said: “There were three main voices who could have continued the Allende legacy. There was Allende, Victor Jara [a folk singer] and Pablo Neruda. Allende died on the day of the coup, Jara soon after, the only one left was Neruda. Why not eliminate the third symbol? I can’t assure that he was killed or who might have done it, but there are too many suspicious acts”.
Mr Contreras added “It is very debateable whether Pablo Neruda was really on his death bed”. Manuel Araya has alleged that the poet was actually preparing to live in exile in Mexico when he was injected with an unknown substance, after which his physical health deteriorated at a rapid pace.
A pro- Pinochet newspaper, El Mercurio, published reports the day after the death of Neruda that also referred to an injection that he was given prior to his death.
After a hugely detailed search into the last few weeks of the poet’s life, Mr Contreras found that Pablo Neruda was not hugely unwell but was instead getting ready for life in Mexico.
Although originally the investigating judge, Mario Carroza was dubious about the new theory of how the poet died. The investigation, spanning the length of two years, produced enough evidence for the exhumation to proceed.