Famous Poet Pablo Neruda’s Mysterious Death Revealed

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By Athena Yenko | May 3, 2013 4:11 PM EST

1971 Nobel Prize in Literature Pablo Neruda's death has left a hole in the hearts of those who admire the poets' brilliance. Pablo Neruda is known for his love poems and leftist ideals. His death on Sept 23, 1973, aroused suspicion on the true cost of his death, but it was only April 8 2013 that the Chilean Courts finally approved the exhumation of his body. Results of exhumation were released on Thursday, May 2.

Neruda's Mysterious Death

 According to accounts, Mr Neruda was admitted at Santiago's Maria Clinic because of cancer, but he died of a heart failure in the night of September 23 1973. His death aroused suspicion when his driver Manuel Araya revealed that the poet died after receiving an injection days following the coup against Mr Pinochet. The poet was then planning an exile in Mexico to lead opposition against Mr Pinochet. Manuel Araya testified that on the very afternoon of September 23 1973, 12 days following Mr Pinochet's claim to power, Pablo Neruda told his wife and Mr Araya that a doctor injected something in his chest that caused him feeling weak. Six hours later, the poet died of a heart attack.

People were banned to attend his funeral and a large police force was tasked to watch over the funeral. The masses remained unthreatened and thus, in fact, took the funeral as an opportunity to protest against Pinochet's regime.

Results of Exhumation

Experts confirm that Pablo Neruda has cancer, the Santiago Times reported, but more examinations are needed to prove or disprove suspicion of poisoning. The Justice Ministry's Legal Medical Service (SML) verified on Thursday that the poet was indeed suffering from advanced case of prostate cancer at the time of death, "The histology and radiology exams have been completed by the SML multidisciplinary team alongside national and international experts." To further guarantee authenticity, bone samples were sent to chief medical examiner in the United States.

Eduardo Contreras, attorney for Manuel Araya, said that "It is not news that Neruda had cancer, it is logical that X-rays of the remains showed this." They insist that the cancer was not the cause of Neruda's death and that this toxicology report barely shed light on the investigation that the poet was murdered.

More Mystery Unveiled

During the press conference covered by the Santiago times, the name of a certain doctor called 'Dr. Price' aroused more challenging questions. Doctors who were willing to testify were consistent with their testimony that 'Dr. Price' was with them while attending to the sick poet.

The Chilean press formulated theories that this certain "Dr. Price" was in fact the former National Intelligence Directorate agent and U.S. citizen Michael Townley. However, this claim was immediately contest by Peter Kornbluh, author for The Pinochet File, who said that "Townley was in Florida, a fugitive at that time..."

The death of Pablo Neruda was compared to the death of Chilean president Eduardo Frei Montalva. Messrs Neruda and Montalva both died under suspicious circumstances in the same hospital, under the same set of attending doctors - Pedro Valdivia Soto, Patricia Silva Garin, Eduardo Arriegeda Reheren and Rodrigo Velez Fuenzalida. These doctors were accused of murdering the former Chilean president.

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