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Who killed Pablo Neruda?

By Harriet Staff

6-4-13_Neruda

This just in, from our friends at Melville House: on Saturday, a Chilean judge ordered police to start looking for one man, who may have killed Pablo Neruda.

This command is the culmination of a two-year campaign to investigate the Nobel laureate’s cause of death, which began when the poet’s former driver alleged that Neruda did not die of prostate cancer, as was officially recorded, but was poisoned by agents working with Chilean dictator Augusten Pinochet.

The decision came after Dr. Sergio Draper, a doctor who testified that he was with Neruda when he died, changed his story and told the court that a doctor named Price was with the poet. The catch? There’s no record of a Doctor Price in the hospital’s records and Draper never saw him again after the day he left him with Neruda.

This story keeps getting weirder and weirder. MH notes that there’s also some interesting research going on at The Independent:

The prosecutor believes that whoever the man was, “the important fact is that this was the person who ordered the injection” that may have killed Neruda. The description of Price as tall and blond with blue eyes matches Michael Townley, a CIA double agent who worked with the Chilean secret police under Pinochet.

Townley was put into the witness protection programme after he admitted killing critics of the Chilean dictator in Washington and Buenos Aires.

Neruda’s body is still undergoing analysis by Chilean and international forensic scientists to discover if there is proof of foul play.

From Melville House:

Earlier this year, The Guardian reported that the clinic where Neruda died has been under quite a bit of scrutiny recently. Last year, six people, including Pinochet agents, were arrested for allegedly poisoning former president Eduardo Frei there in 1981.

We’ll keep you posted on any updates as they appear. In the meantime, if you’re new to this story, check out Harriet’s initial coverage here and here.

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Posted in Poetry News on Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 by Harriet Staff.