On Sept. 23, 1973, Pablo Neruda died at the Santa Maria clinic in Santiago, Chile. The medical report pronounced his death as caused by complications from a tumor. Now, thanks to an international team of experts, cancer can be ruled out as the poet’s cause of death.
This does not mean that it is possible to confirm it was a political murder, as the Communist Party, as well as the Nobel-prize-winner’s assistant, Manuel Araya, have always claimed. Nonetheless, forensic pathologist Dr. Aurelio Luna, the central figure of the group of experts, has claimed without any reservations that a toxin was detected in the writer’s bones.
Evidence that Neruda was poisoned has reopened the debate surrounding his death. It calls into play the controversial, although highly plausible, accusations that have come in recent decades from Neruda’s family (even though Matilde Urrutia, his third and last wife, never spoke about poison, but still excluded the possibility that he could have died from cancer).