A team of international experts concluded a years-long investigation into the death of the Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda. The conclusion is at odds with Neruda’s official death certificate, which states that he died from complications related to prostate cancer. The definitive report will be delivered in March.
Paola Plaza, the judge overseeing the investigation into Pablo Neruda’s death, received a report by international DNA and forensics experts, confirming that a neurotoxin found in Neruda’s molar in 2017 could be related to his death.
Plaza will receive the full report on Mar. 7 and then determine if Neruda died of unnatural causes. The investigation took five years.
The experts concluded that the neurotoxin entered Neruda’s body before his death. Called clostridium botulinum, it is lethal in small doses and, according to the study, could have caused his death within hours. His family and friends claimed for decades that he was in good health just before he died.
According to the poet's family, on Feb. 15 an international team of experts will prove that he was murdered. They say an investigation into the extraneous bacteria found in his molar will show that it was present in his body before he died, indicating that it was injected. pic.twitter.com/DBUS1a7EgM
— Chile Today News (@ChileTodayNews) February 14, 2023
Manuel Araya, who was Neruda’s assistant, has maintained that an unscheduled injection into the abdomen contained a toxic substance.
Neruda, an ally of then president Salvador Allende, died on Sep. 23, 1973, about two weeks after the coup d’état, which led to suspicions of an unnatural death. These suspicions gained traction after the neurotoxin was found in his exhumed body decades later.
The death certificate, signed by Neruda’s physician Roberto Vargas Salazar, stated prostate cancer as the cause of death.
Matthijs is a newly graduated journalism student from Groningen, the Netherlands. As a starting journalist and aspiring foreign correspondent, he decided to extend his 6-month university exchange in Chile to do an internship at Chile Today. He enjoys writing about a broad range of topics, but international relations, politics and conflicts are his key interests.