Cancer Didn’t Kill Pablo Neruda, Panel Finds ~ NYT

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Pablo Neruda after winning the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature. Credit

Laurent Rebours/Associated Press

SANTIAGO, Chile — The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, a Nobel laureate, did not die of cancer, as his death certificate indicated, according to a group of international forensic experts who analyzed samples of his remains.

The conclusion, announced on Friday in Santiago, Chile’s capital, is likely to increase speculation that Neruda may have been murdered.

A former diplomat and senator from the Communist Party, Neruda died at 69 on Sept. 23, 1973, two weeks after a military coup toppled the leftist government of Salvador Allende. Cancer was reported as the cause of death.

But in 2011, his former driver, Manuel Araya, asserted in an interview with a Mexican magazine that doctors at the private clinic in Santiago where Neruda was being treated poisoned him by injecting an unknown substance into his stomach. Mr. Araya did not witness the injection, but he said that Neruda described it to him from his deathbed when the two men were alone.

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