International experts confirm that Pablo Neruda died of poisoning

THEInternational experts will reveal that bacteria found on the remains of the 1971 Nobel laureate “were in his body at the time of death”, proving he was “poisoned” 12 days after the 1973 military coup.

“We now know that ‘clostridium botulinum’ should not have been in Neruda’s skeleton. What does this mean? That Neruda was murdered, that there was intervention by state agents in 1973,” said Rodolfo Reyes, the poet’s nephew, in statements to Effect. .

This revelation is the latest twist in one of the great debates in post-coup Chile. The long-held official position is that Neruda died of complications from prostate cancer, but the author’s former guide, Manuel Araya, argued for decades that he had been poisoned.

The bacteria responsible for botulism was found in 2017 in one of Neruda’s molars by another group of scientists, who at the time immediately rejected the dictatorship’s version, denying that the poet’s cause of death was advanced prostate cancer that he suffered from 1969.

Clostridium botulinum is a bacillus commonly found in soil, but experts from McMaster University (Canada) and the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) concluded, in a report to be presented this week, that it “did not penetrate Neruda’s body through him his coffin’, but that he already had it before he died.

The question that remains is how and by whom the botulinum toxin was introduced into the body of the author of “Twenty Love Poems and a Desperate Song.”

“Neruda’s fatal bullet was found, it was in his body. Who fired it? That will be seen soon, but there is no doubt that Neruda was killed, by the direct intervention of third parties,” emphasized Rodolfo Reyes.

Much of Neruda’s family supports Manuel Araya’s version that the poet was poisoned by an injection in the abdomen by a secret regime agent posing as a doctor at the Santa Maria Clinic in Santiago.

“Neruda was not seriously ill, he just had cancer. He was struggling, he was suffering, but he was not prepared to die,” family lawyer Elizabeth Flores, who is acting as a plaintiff in the case filed in 2011, along with the Communist Party, told Efe , of which Neruda was a member.

Rodolfo Reyes recalled that the author, whose remains were recovered in 2013 from his garden on Isla Negra, on the central coast of Chile, had planned to travel to Mexico a few days before his death, aged 69, and that in exile he had become the “great opponent” of General Augusto Pinochet.

There has been no confirmation of Reyes’ comments from medical examiners in Canada, Denmark and Chile, who will publicly release the report on Neruda’s cause of death.

The conclusions of this new report were due to be presented on 3 February, but the hearing was canceled on two occasions – first due to technical breakdowns and then due to alleged disagreements between experts – and rescheduled for 15 February.

Pablo Neruda died on September 23, 1973 at the Clínica Santa María in Santiago, Chile, just 12 days after the coup in which Augusto Pinochet overthrew the government of Salvador Allende.

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