Thursday, May 2, 2013

Preliminary test results on Pablo Neruda's remains

File:Pablo Neruda (1966).jpgAlmost a month after Pablo Neruda's body was exhumed, initial results published by Chile's Servicio Medico Legal indicate that the poet was suffering from an advanced and metastatic prostate cancer. However, the presence of cancer does not rule out the possibility of assassination by DINA, as claimed by Neruda's personal chauffeur Don Manuel Araya.

Eduardo Contreras, lawyer of the Communist Party of Chile stated that the news of Neruda's illness was not surprising. Results concerning the presence of toxins, which would indicate an assassination, were being carried out in the US.

Araya has questioned the official version of Neruda's death, a mere twelve days after the military dictatorship was unleashed upon Chile. In 2011, his version of events and accusations against the dictatorship were published in El Pais and later evolved into a book entitled 'El Doble Asesinato de Neruda' by Francisco Marin and Mario Cassasus, in which it is argued that Neruda was in fact planning to go into exile and instigate a formidable opposition to the dictatorship from abroad.

The preliminary results have already been hailed by the right wing as proof of 'a leftist conspiracy'. Calling the exhumation a manipulation, the quest for memory has been swiftly ridiculed in a tangle of conspiracy accusations. For the Chilean left, proof tends to be regarded with suspicion after decades of succumbing to the indignities of dictatorial impunity which Pinochet negotiated as part of his brutal legacy.

It should be noted that despite the exhumation of Salvador Allende's body and subsequent confirmation of suicide, many Chileans remain sceptical of this history. Following a historical update on Facebook during last year's September 11, the documented history did not include Allende's alleged suicide. Instead, a statement was issued declaring a strong belief that Allende had been murdered and therefore the historical re-enactment would end prior to the disputed act.

In Asociacion Ilicita: Los Archivos Secretos de la Dictadura (Ceibo Ediciones, 2012) (review here), it is stated that close monitoring of intellectuals and other opponents in exile was carried out by DINA, in order to prevent the possible formation of a government in exile. In light of this revelation, it is indeed suspicious and utterly convenient for the fascist dictatorship that Neruda succumbed to his illness prior to his safe exit from Chile. With such close ties to Allende's government, Neruda would have been a mobilising factor for the Chilean left in exile.

EL DOBLE ASESINATO DE NERUDAEl Doble Asesinato de Neruda has been kindly provided to me by the publishers as a review copy. A review of the book - testimony and thoughts of Don Manuel Araya about the alleged assassination of Pablo Neruda, will be published on this blog by the end of next week.


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