Was Pablo Neruda Poisoned by Pinochet?
“I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.”
– Pablo Neruda
Who knew one of my favorite poets was a communist and died, under very suspicious circumstances, only 12 days after his close friend, socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende, in 1973?
The Pablo Neruda Foundation announced on Friday that the Judge Mario Carroza has ruled in favor of exhuming the body of Nobel Prize-winning poet for an autopsy, seeking to determine the cause of his death.
Although his family insists he died of prostate cancer, as it is reported in his death certificate; the Chilean authorities started an investigation into his death when the allegations surfaced in 2011 that he may have been poisoned.
Investigation began after Neruda’s driver Manuel Araya Osorio claimed that the poet was injected with poison, on the orders of General Pinochet, which provoked a heart attack, killing him at the clinic he was being treated for cancer.
The Communist Party of Chile has pushed for further investigation after these allegations.
Neruda died days after the 1973 military coup d’état that was set off by Gen. Augusto Pinochet, overthrowing his close friend Salvador Allende’s elected socialist government. Allende committed suicide after giving his last speech, as troops surrounded the Presidential palace. Pinochet’s forces killed many prominent leftists during and after the coup.
According to various reports and investigations, during Pinochet’s 17 year rule, over 3,200 people were killed, up to 80,000 were interned, and up to 30,000 were tortured by his regime including women and children.
“The U.S. provided material support to the military regime after the coup, although criticizing it in public. A document released by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 2000, titled “CIA Activities in Chile”, revealed that the CIA actively supported the military junta after the overthrow of Allende, and that it made many of Pinochet’s officers into paid contacts of the CIA or U.S. military, even though some were known to be involved in human rights abuses.” 
The foundation stated that they hope the exhumation would be conducted “with the greatest possible respect and care and that it would clear up any doubts that might exist” as to how Neruda died.
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