Forensic tests show no poison in remains of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 7:19am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 7:19am


The four-decade mystery of whether Chilean Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda was poisoned has seemingly been cleared up, with forensic test results showing no chemical agents in his bones.

But Neruda's family and driver are not satisfied and say they will request more proof.

Neruda died under suspicious circumstances in the chaos that followed Chile's 1973 military coup. The official version is that the poet died of cancer. Neruda's former driver has said for years that dictatorship agents injected poison into the poet's stomach while he was bedridden at the Santa Maria clinic in Santiago. Neruda's body was exhumed in April to determine the cause of his death.

"No relevant chemical substances have been found that could be linked to Mr Neruda's death," Patricio Bustos, the head of Chile's medical legal service, said on Friday as he read the results of the seven-month investigation by the 15-member forensic team.

Bustos said experts found traces of medicine used to treat cancer in Neruda's remains but that there was no forensic evidence to prove that Neruda died from anything other than natural causes.

The results by the team of Chilean and international experts did not satisfy Neruda's family members and friends, who said the poet's case remained unsolved.

"The Neruda case doesn't close today," said Chilean Communist Party lawyer Eduardo Contreras. "We're going to request more samples."

Neruda was a larger-than-life figure with a passion for women, food and wine.