Efe Santiago de Chile

Santiago de Chile

Updated Tuesday, February 20, 2024-16:54

  • Literature "Neruda did not die of cancer, a large amount of botulinum clostridium was found: the death certificate is false"

  • Portrait Pablo Neruda: infamous man, great poet

The First Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Santiago decided to reopen the investigation into the

death of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda

, which occurred 12 days after the coup d'état led by Augusto Pinochet in September 1973, the family of the Nobel Prize winner, the plaintiff, informed Efe. in the case.

"It appears from the background that

the investigation is not exhausted

, there are precise procedures that could contribute to the clarification of the facts (...) the reopening of the summary is ordered," the court said in a unanimous ruling published on Monday night.

The judge in charge of the investigation, Paola Plaza, who must clarify whether the Nobel Prize winner died from the advanced prostate cancer that afflicted him or if

he was poisoned by a secret agent of the dictatorship

, closed the investigation on September 25, but both His family and the Communist Party - in which Neruda was active since he was young - appealed the decision.

"The unanimity of the ruling is a boost for our appeal.

We have managed to remove the tombstone that they wanted to put

on this investigation. We have been fighting for 14 years to clarify Neruda's death," said Elizabeth Flores, the family's lawyer.

The author of "Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair" died on September 23

, 1973

at the Santa María Clinic in Santiago, one day before going into exile in Mexico.

The poisoning thesis was raised publicly for the first time by the

poet's driver and personal secretary, Manuel Araya

, who died in June of last year and one of the last people to see him alive.

His testimony was the basis of the complaint filed by the Communist Party - supported by part of the family - and which in 2011 gave rise to the investigation that must now be reopened.

"The truth takes a while to arrive, but it is coming little by little.

It is a great achievement

in justice that we have been asking for years for my uncle Pablo," said Rodolfo Reyes, plaintiff and nephew of the poet.

The investigation, which has had the participation of three panels of international experts, suffered a turnaround in 2017, when the

second group of specialists rejected the official version that pointed to

prostate cancer as the cause of death and found "clostridium botulinum" in a poet's tooth.

Clostridium botulinum, responsible for botulism, is a bacillus usually found in soil that

can cause

nervous system problems and even death.

A third panel of experts from the Universities of McMaster (Canada) and Copenhagen (Denmark) revealed a year ago that the bacteria "was in his body at the time of death", which for the

family was interpreted as irrefutable proof

of that Neruda was "poisoned" during his stay at the clinic.

"Since 2017, Neruda has been shouting that he has 'clostridium botulinum' in his body and that it

came to him through the intervention of third parties

," stressed lawyer Flores.

The unknown, however, remains how botulinum toxin, which is also usually found in poorly preserved canned foods, would have been introduced into the body naturally or intentionally.

In Monday's ruling, the First Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Santiago also ordered in the ruling the carrying out of several procedures requested by the plaintiffs, such as a

calligraphic examination of the death certificate

and the taking of new statements.

For the family, the most important diligence is a "meta-expertise that allows

reviewing and interpreting the results

of the expertise carried out by experts from the Universities of McMaster and Copenhagen, which must be carried out only by experts proposed by said institutions."

Reyes explained that the judge in the case had asked different Chilean universities to interpret last year's expert report, but that they "do not have the

knowledge or experience

to do so" and that Canada and Denmark are the "most leading" countries in this type. of forensic analysis.