In Chile, justice relaunches the investigation into the death of poet Pablo Neruda

In Chile justice relaunches the investigation into the death of

Chile will once again try to elucidate the mystery of the death, in 1973, of the poet and Nobel Prize winner for literature Pablo Neruda, after a ruling from the Santiago Court of Appeal ordering the reopening of the investigation, this Tuesday, February 20 .

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Chilean justice demanded this Tuesday, February 20 to reopen the investigation into the death of Chilean poet Pablo Nerudawho may have been poisoned under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973. The reopening of the investigation is ordered in order to carry out the procedures » requested by the plaintiffs, who “ could contribute to clarifying the facts », specifies in its judgment the Court of Appeal of Santiago.

The reopening of the investigation was requested by those close to the poet, as well as by the Communist Party, of which the 1971 Nobel Prize winner for literature was a member. It also cancels the order closing the investigation which was taken in December by the judge in charge of the case, Paola Plaza.

Among the new measures ordered this Tuesday by the courts is a “ meta-expertise to review and interpret expert results ” who analyzed the remains taken from the exhumed body of the Chilean diplomat in 2023. The Santiago Court of Appeal also asks ” a new analysis of the handwriting of the death certificate allegedly issued by Doctor Vargas Salazar “. This certificate states that Neruda died of prostate cancer from which he suffered.

Poisoning hypothesis

Pablo Neruda died on September 23, 1973, twelve days after General Pinochet’s putsch against the socialist president Salvador Allende, who was a great friend of the Chilean artist. The hypothesis of an assassination arose in 2011, when Manuel Araya – who died in June 2023 and at the time a young activist who had been designated by the Chilean Communist Party as the writer’s assistant and driver – revealed that the poet would actually have been poisoned.

According to this theory, Pablo Neruda would have died after an injection given the day before his departure for Mexico, where he planned to go into exile to lead the opposition to the Pinochet regime. Until then, the official version claimed that the poet died of prostate cancer.

Multiple analyzes by experts

In 2017, international experts unanimously rejected this version of the military regime, and confirmed that Neruda did not die from a sudden worsening of his cancer. However, at the time, they were unable to confirm or rule out the possibility of contamination through the injection of germs or bacterial toxins.

Likewise, a panel of scientists was called upon to definitively conclude the investigation in 2023. They had analyzed the results of a whole series of samples from the remains of the poet, whose body had been exhumed from the crypt where he had rested since 1992, on Isla Negra, in Chile. Their conclusions were submitted in February 2023 to judge Paola Plaza, indicating, once again, that they had not been able to determine whether or not the death was due to poisoning.

According to official figures, Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship, which lasted more than 15 years, left some 3,200 people dead and more than 38,000 people tortured.

Read also“Room 406, the Pablo Neruda affair”, investigation into the death of the Nobel Prize for Literature

(With AFP)