International experts revealed this Wednesday that the bacteria found in the remains of Pablo Neruda “was in his body at the time of death,” which would show that he was “poisoned” twelve days after the 1973 military coup. His family advanced the news to the Spanish agency EFE.
“We now know that ‘clostridium botulinum’ should not have been in Neruda’s skeleton. What does this mean? That Neruda was assassinated, there was an intervention in 1973 by state agents,” said Rodolfo Reyes, the poet’s nephew.
Sobrino de Pablo Neruda dice que informe revela envenenamiento. Rodolfo Reyes asegura que el informe forense sobre la causa de muerte del poeta y Nobel de Literatura chileno indica que habría sido envenenado con una bacteria botulínica.
Por Eva Vergara.https://t.co/vx0DlGfevW
— AP Noticias (@AP_Noticias) February 14, 2023
The bacteria, responsible for botulism, was found in 2017 in one of Neruda’s molars by another panel of experts, who dismissed the version of the dictatorship and rejected that the cause of death was advanced prostate cancer that had afflicted him since 1969.
Clostridium botulinum is a bacillus that is usually found in soil, but experts from McMaster University (Canada) and the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) concluded in the report to be presented that “it did not leak into the corpse of Neruda from inside or around his coffin,” but that he already had it before he died, according to a report from Cadena Ser.
The unknown remains how and who introduced the botulinum toxin into the body of the 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature and author of books such as Canto General and Estravagario. “Neruda’s fatal bullet was found, which he had in his body. Who shot it? That will be seen soon, but there is no doubt that Neruda was killed by direct intervention from third parties,” emphasized Reyes.
A large part of Neruda’s family, whose real name was Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, supports the version of Manuel Araya, his former driver.
Araya maintains that the poet was poisoned by an injection in the abdomen by a secret agent of the regime who posed as a doctor at the Santa María Clinic in Santiago.
“Neruda was not seriously ill, he just had cancer. He was walking with difficulty, he was in pain, but he was not ready to die,” Elizabeth Flores, a family lawyer, who is acting as a plaintiff in the case that began in 2011 together with the Communist Party, in which Neruda was a member, told EFE.
For his part, Reyes recalled that the writer, whose remains were exhumed in 2013 from his garden in Isla Negra, Chile, had planned to travel to Mexico a few days before he died, at the age of 69, and that in exile he would have become the “great opponent” of General Augusto Pinochet.
The conclusions of this new expert report were to be announced on February 3, but the hearing was canceled twice ― first due to technical failures and then due to alleged disagreements between the experts ― and rescheduled for next February 15.
“The lawyers are going to request other types of proceedings that may or may not be scientific,” added Flores.