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Sunday, 10 February 2013

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Chile court orders, exhume remains of poet Neruda

9 February AFP

A Chilean judge has ordered the remains of poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda exhumed in a probe into whether he died of cancer as commonly believed or was killed by agents serving Augusto Pinochet.

The exhumation was announced by the foundation that manages his literary legacy.

The leftist poet, who died 12 days after the 1973 military coup that ousted socialist president Salvador Allende and brought General Augusto Pinochet to power, was long believed to have died of prostate cancer.

But officials in 2011 started looking into the possibility he was poisoned by agents of the Pinochet regime, as claimed by Neruda's driver and aide.

Neruda is best known for his love poems as well as his "Canto General" -- an epic poem about South America's history and its people.

A senior member of Chile's Communist Party, his writings were banned during Pinochet's military dictatorship, which ended in 1990.

An exhumation date will be decided in March. Neruda is buried next to his wife Matilde Urrutia in Isla Negra, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the capital Santiago. He won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Pablo Neruda Foundation said it learned a few days ago from Judge Mario Carroza of his decision to have the remains of the poet exhumed.

 

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