Pablo Neruda suffered from cancer, show tests

Santiago, May 3 (IANS/EFE) The initial tests performed on the exhumed remains of Nobel literature laureate Pablo Neruda show that the Chilean poet was suffering from advanced prostate cancer, officials associated with the process told EFE.

The report from the medical examiner’s office was delivered to Judge Mario Carroza, who is presiding over the effort to determine what killed Neruda, who died Sep 23, 1973, 12 days after Gen. Augusto Pinochet toppled Chile’s Socialist government in a bloody coup.

His death was officially blamed on cancer, but an investigation was opened in mid-2011 after a complaint was filed by Neruda’s Communist Party colleagues based on charges by former chauffeur Manuel Araya that Neruda was murdered on Pinochet’s orders.

“Beyond the fact that it was established that Neruda had prostate cancer, here the central point is to determine if he really was murdered by means of a lethal injection while he was a patient at the Santa Maria Clinic,” plaintiff’s attorney Eduardo Contreras told EFE.

“In this sense, the important things are the bone samples that will be sent to the United States” for analysis, he added.

Neruda passed away in the same Santiago clinic where former president Eduardo Frei Montalva died in 1982. The erstwhile head of state’s death was also attributed to natural causes, but a 2009 probe determined that he was poisoned.

The poet’s medical records have disappeared.

Carroza must now rule on the Neruda plaintiffs’ request to question several doctors who are on trial for the death of former [resident Frei Montalva.

Some of those doctors worked at the hospital when Neruda was a patient there and also were members of Pinochet’s secret police.

–IANS/EFE

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