News / Americas

Remains of Chilean Nobel Prize-Winning Poet Exhumed

Rodolfo Reyes (L), grandnephew of Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, carries his coffin covered with the Chilean flag, inside the grounds of his house-museum after the exhumation of his remains in Isla Negra, about 106 km north of Santiago, April 8, 2013, in this picture provided by the Communications Division of the Judiciary.
Rodolfo Reyes (L), grandnephew of Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, carries his coffin covered with the Chilean flag, inside the grounds of his house-museum after the exhumation of his remains in Isla Negra, about 106 km north of Santiago, April 8, 2013, in this picture provided by the Communications Division of the Judiciary.
Reuters
The body of Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda, dead nearly four decades, was exhumed on Monday after his former driver said the poet was poisoned under Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship.

Neruda, famed for his passionate love poems and staunch communist views, is presumed to have died from prostate cancer on Sept. 23, 1973.

But Manuel Araya, who was Neruda's chauffer during the ailing writer's last few months, says agents of the dictatorship took advantage of his illness to inject poison into his stomach while he was bedridden at the Santa Maria clinic in Santiago.

"We're hoping for a positive result because Neruda was assassinated. Pinochet made an error when he ordered Neruda be killed," said Araya.

Neruda was buried in his coastal home of Isla Negra beside his third wife, Matilde Urrutia. His remains will be brought to Santiago for analysis. Some samples could be sent to laboratories abroad. Results are expected in coming months.

Neruda was a supporter of socialist President Salvador Allende, who was toppled in a military coup on Sept. 11, 1973, nearly two weeks before the poet's death at age 69. Around 3,000 people are thought to have been killed by the brutal 17-year-long dictatorship that ensued.

Ricardo Eliecer Neftali Reyes Basoalto, better known by his pen name Pablo Neruda, was a larger-than-life fixture in Chile's literary and political scene. While best known for his collection "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair," published in 1924, Neruda was also an important political activist during a turbulent time in Chile.

He organized a ship to bring about 2,000 Spanish refugees fleeing the civil war there to Chile in 1939, campaigned for Allende and was ambassador to France during the socialist's presidency.

The Andean country's intelligentsia frequently congregated in Isla Negra, as well as in his Santiago home "La Chascona" - so named for his then-mistress Urrutia's messy red hair - and La Sebastiana, his ship-themed home in the port town of Valparaiso.

Democratically-elected Allende committed suicide in the presidential palace as it was under attack by the military, experts confirmed last year, amid accusations he had been murdered during the coup.

Chilean courts are also investigating the death of ex-President Eduardo Frei Montalva, who is presumed to have died in 1982 of an infection after a hernia operation. Some say he was poisoned by Pinochet's agents.

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Polls: Opposition Has Slight Lead in Brazil Presidential Runoff

However, business-favorite candidate Aecio Neves is struggling to retain momentum that gave him a slight advantage over Dilma Rousseff in recent polls
More

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa
More

Video Miami Woman Serves as Guardian to Children of Immigrants

In 2013, administration deported 240,000 undocumented immigrants, many leaving behind children born in US; Nora Sandigo has helped nearly 1,000 of them
More

Video Latinos Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Researcher says converting Latinas see Islam as positive; 'Koran becomes this guidebook that tells you exactly what to wear, what to eat, how to wash, how to behave, when to pray”
More

Hurricane Gonzalo Pummels Bermuda

Hurricane scores direct hit Friday night into Saturday, but causes no deaths and only minor injuries
More

Thousands March in Mexico Over Feared Student Massacre

Protesters in Acapulco demand answers about fate of 43 missing trainee teachers, who authorities fear were killed by police in league with gang members
More