Poetic Justice

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Chile will reopen the investigation into the death of renowned Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, who died under mysterious circumstances shortly after the coup that brought strongman Gen. Augusto Pinochet to power over 50 years ago, Sky News reported.

The case’s reopening comes a few months after a Chilean court initially rejected a request by Neruda’s nephew Rodolfo Reyes to probe his uncle’s death.

On Tuesday, an appeals court overturned the lower court’s verdict.

Neruda’s passing occurred just 12 days after the military coup in 1973 that ousted his close friend, President Salvador Allende, and installed Pinochet as the country’s leader.

His death was initially attributed to complications from prostate cancer, but his driver Manuel Araya had suggested for decades that the left-wing politician had been poisoned.

His body was exhumed in 2013 for further investigation, leading to speculation that a third party may have been involved in his death.

Recent forensic evidence verified Araya’s claims, after tests from Danish and Canadian labs showed the presence of a “great quantity of Clostridium botulinum (bacteria)” inside Neruda’s body. The pathogen produces a potent toxin that can cause paralysis in the nervous system.

This finding has prompted the reopening of the investigation, with a focus on reanalyzing Neruda’s death certificate and seeking input from bacterial researchers.

Known for his love poems, Neruda had planned to go into exile following Pinochet’s coup. But a day before departure, he was admitted to a clinic in the capital Santiago, where he had been treated for cancer, and died there.

Suspicions that Pinochet’s regime was involved in this death continued even after Chile returned to democracy in 1990.

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