Chilean poet and writer Pablo Neruda.
Santiago de Chile – Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, who died aged 69 in 1973 two weeks after Augusto Pinochet's military coup, was poisoned. This was stated by the family of this winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, which refers to a new report by international experts. It is to be officially published on Wednesday, but Neruda's nephew quoted from it already on Monday. This was reported by the EFE agency.
“Now we know that he had clostridium botulinum bacteria in his bones, which had no business there. And what does that mean? That Neruda was murdered in 1973 by agents of the state,” Neruda's nephew Rodolfo Reyes told EFE on Monday. “I say this with all responsibility because I know the facts,” Reyes told Spanish newspaper El País. He added that the family expected such a conclusion because, according to him, experts had already found botulinum toxin poisoning bacteria on Neruda's remains in 2017. “But it was not known if the toxin was injected into the body, which has now been confirmed,” said Reyes.
Pablo Neruda was born in 1904 as Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, and he chose his literary pseudonym as a boy after Czech Jan Neruda, not knowing at the time that he was a great Czech writer. Pablo Neruda died on September 23, 1973, in a clinic in Santiago, 12 days after Pinochet's coup that overthrew the leftist president Salvador Allende, whom Neruda supported.
The official cause of Neruda's death is still given as prostate cancer, which although the poet suffered from, but according to the family, he did not die from it. It was only in 2011 that the Chilean Communist Party filed a complaint in court and requested an investigation based on the testimony of Neruda's driver Manuel Araya, according to which the writer was poisoned. Araya also told the media that the writer then complained to him about a strange injection he received at night at the hospital. According to him, Neruda was about to fly to Mexico and Pinochet had him poisoned so that he could not become a vocal critic of his regime in exile.
Neruda's remains were exhumed in 2013, and the same year local experts stated that they did not find no evidence that the writer died of poisoning. But in 2014, the court ordered a review of the samples, which were then sent to university laboratories in Canada and Denmark. In 2017, foreign experts concluded that Neruda did not die of cancer and said they had found the bacteria that causes botulism in his tooth. The subject of the latest investigation by experts from, among others, Canada, Mexico, Britain, the USA and Germany was to find out whether this bacterium was the cause of death.