Home Arts & Culture Pablo Neruda case: Chile opens new investigation into poet’s death

Pablo Neruda case: Chile opens new investigation into poet’s death


Chile has opened a new investigation into the death in 1973 of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda.

Government spokesman Francisco Ugas said there were indications that Pablo Neruda could have been poisoned.

Tests on Pablo Neruda’s exhumed body in 2013 found no trace of poison but more will now be done. His death certificate says he died of prostate cancer.

Pablo Neruda died 12 days after the military coup that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power.

Photo AFP/Getty Images

Photo AFP/Getty Images

Although he was best known for his poetry, Pablo Neruda was a lifelong member of Chile’s Communist Party, a lawmaker and a former ambassador to France.

Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.

New forensic tests on Pablo Neruda’s remains will be looking for inorganic or heavy metals to try to determine a direct or indirect cause of death, officials said.

The investigation will focus on detecting if chemical agents caused any cellular or protein damage.

The previous tests looked specifically for the remains of poison.

“There is initial evidence that he was poisoned and in that sense the signs point to the intervention of specific agents,” Francisco Ugas, who is head of the government’s humans rights department, said.

Pablo Neruda’s body was exhumed in April 2013 to establish whether he died of poisoning, as his driver Manuel Araya and others suspected.

Manuel Araya said Pablo Neruda, who was 69, had called him from hospital in Santiago, and told him he was feeling sick after having been given an injection in the stomach.

Some believe Pablo Neruda was poisoned because he was a staunch supporter of deposed President Salvador Allende and it was believed he would become a leader of opposition to the dictatorship.

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