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Chile acknowledges possibility of Pablo Neruda's murder

By Marilyn Malara
Poet Pablo Neruda, pictured here during a Library of Congress recording session in 1966, may have been murdered, according to the Chilean government. Photo by Library of Congress
Poet Pablo Neruda, pictured here during a Library of Congress recording session in 1966, may have been murdered, according to the Chilean government. Photo by Library of Congress

SANTIAGO, Chile, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The Chilean government is officially acknowledging the possibility its famed poet Pablo Neruda died as a result of foul play.

A new report from the Chilean Interior Ministry and obtained by El Pais on Thursday suggests the Nobel Prize-winning poet did not die of prostate cancer, as was widely reported, but was instead murdered after a coup in 1973.

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The document asserts "it was clearly possible and highly likely," Neruda died at the hands of "third parties" after President Salvador Allende was overthrown in 1973. El Pais reports the laureate was close friends with Allende up until his suicide on the morning of the rebellion.

The Interior Ministry's report was apparently brought about due to an ongoing investigation into Neruda's sudden death. A panel of experts familiar with the case are researching the mystery, the Guardian reports, but have not come to a conclusion regarding the true nature of the 69-year-old writer's demise.

"We have always followed the line that something strange happened during his final days," Judge Mario Carroza Espinosa told El Pais. "Neruda had cancer but he wasn't suffering, nor was it terminal. But on Sept. 23, [1973] his health suddenly deteriorated and he died six-and-a-half hours later."

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Neruda was reportedly preparing to go into exile before he was driven to the Santa Maria clinic in the nation's capitol. The ongoing investigation and public controversy prompted the exhumation of his body in 2013 for an additional examination, although no maltreatment was detected.

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