Neruda was killed, says Don Manuel Araya Osorio, protocol advisor and personal assistant to Pablo Neruda.
Manuel Araya, who points out that science confirms his claim.
Walk through the hills of San Antonio in a taxi. Sometimes it must pass outside the Green Texas Regiment, where the genocidal Manuel Contreras operated, during the early dictatorial times, and the distance that separates it from Isla Negra is almost imperceptible, because his memory is still there.
Manuel Araya, the dictatorship and his office of driver has marked him for life. From the age of fourteen he was a member of the Communist Youth, he said, he had a very close relationship with Julieta Campusano, who became Senator and member of the Central Committee of the PC. In 1971 he was appointed security manager for Pablo Neruda, who in practice became a personal assistant, including being a chauffeur.
In his taxi, he tells us "a truth that drowns" and that he can not, but tell it to all who can.
Don Manuel begins by reporting that he was informed of the coup d'état by a shortwave radio in Argentina. It was 4:00 am on September 11, 1973 and they were in the house of Isla Negra.
He recalls that he told Neruda that the military would only be in power for a while and that they would hand it over to the Christian Democrats, but he replied that "it was going to be a very long process," similar to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in Spain . "They are going to kill us all, I am a communist leader and they will kill me like Federico (García Lorca)," he exclaimed.
Already on the morning of September 12 they had learned of the bombing of La Moneda and the death of Allende. Meanwhile, Manuel "Mamo" Contreras himself, who at that time headed the Texas Green Regiment, sent to ask how many employees were at home and saying that they should leave. Manuel remained with Neruda, his partner Matilde and his sister Laura. The rest left.
On September 13, the army raided the house of Isla Negra, looking for leaders and weapons. Here Manuel denounces that "they stole what they wanted ... they took objects, news that Neruda brought from abroad." After this visit, it was the turn of the Navy, who according to Manuel, had the same behavior as the previous ones.
The 14 "put a warship in front of the house" (which has a view of the sea). At that moment began the attempts to plan the departure of Neruda from his home and country. The embassies of France, Sweden and Mexico were managing their exile, although it was with the latter that more far-reaching agreements were signed. The plan established by diplomacy was to take Neruda to Clínica Santa Maria, not because he was ill, but to wait there, in safe conditions, for the trip to Mexico. On September 17 they reported that room 406 of this center was reserved, for the 19th of the month.
A day earlier, Manuel traveled to Santiago to contact an ambulance that transferred Neruda from Isla Negra to Santiago. He remembers that at that moment, the Mexican embassy tried to unsuccessfully obtain a safe conduct for Neruda, which finally was achieved on September 22, scheduled for the day 24 exile to Mexico.
Neruda arrived at Clínica Santa María on September 19 at 7:30 p.m., after an accident and fateful trip of about 130 kilometers, carried over in six hours due to the successive checks and searches that the Army carried out on the ambulance and at vehicle that Manuel drove, remember.
While being accompanied in the health center of the capital, Neruda continued in the same state of health in which he entered, that is, healthy. In telling this, Manuel says that the only disease that accompanied the vate was a prostate cancer that was controlled, without causing discomfort.
As the procedures for exile were ready, on the 23rd, Neruda asked Matilde Urrutia and Manuel to go to Isla Negra to find some belongings for their trip. Being in this place, they receive a call from Neruda, who tells them that "a doctor came in, I being asleep, he gives me an injection in my stomach and I am very hot." Manuel, continues to report that, quickly returned to Santiago, they packed the luggage of the Mexican embassy and entered the Clinic, finding Neruda very feverish.
In the room, "he remembers," I'm going to wet a towel in the bathroom (to try to reduce the fever of Neruda), a doctor enters and tells me that I must buy a remedy called "urogotán", that I can find it in Vivaceta street ... when I get to Balmaceda with Vivaceta, two cars hit me with a locker, some armed men get out, they hit me in the head, they get me out of the car ... wherever I go! I am the secretary of Pablo Neruda! ... "This was approximately at 18:50 p.m. At 22:30 Neruda died, learning about it about six days later, by the voice of Cardinal Raúl Silva Henríquez himself, who rescued him from the National Stadium, at the moment that Manuel was injured by the tortures and a bullet in one of his legs.
Manuel adds that "the same doctor who put the injection to Neruda is the same that was placed to Eduardo Frei (Montalva) ... what that doctor was doing ... (he) says: I'm going down the aisle, the nurse who calls me Mr. Neruda has a lot of pain and I put dipyrone. The "dipyrone" is given at four in the afternoon and five hours later dies.
The doctor is Sergio Draper, a doctor who was also on duty at the time that Frei Montalva was murdered at the same clinic. To the Argentine magazine Ñ, Sarper has declared that "... Neruda entered with prostate cancer, that diagnosis had done it in France and here arrived with multiple metastases; a terminal cancer, spread throughout the body, a state of precoma. "Regarding the controversial injection, he says" ... I only saw him for a moment on Sunday, September 23rd, I did not have to attend to him. That day, the nurse on duty told me that apparently Neruda suffered from a lot of pain, I told her that she would be given the injection indicated by her doctor, if I remember correctly was a dipirone ... "
It is symptomatic that El Mercurio, instigator of the Military Coup, published on September 24th that "the vate ... had been hospitalized in a serious state ... Subsequently, as a result of a shock suffered after having been given a shot of sedative, its seriousness was accentuated ".
Manuel discards all the versions that until now have been affirmed like causes of the death of the poet. He did not die of grief, he did not die of cachexia, because his organic condition was normal (of 128 kilos) and cancer. For Manuel the truth is in the eyes of anyone.
The Neruda Foundation has denied Manuel's version, saying to the press that "it is no more than an individual and personal testimony that contradicts all the testimonies of people very close." However, its legitimacy is questioned from different voices and for different reasons.
Its president, Juan Agustín Figueroa, a member of the Radical Party, was Minister of Agriculture of Aylwin and is a strong supporter of the Claro Group, has received the nickname "number 22 of the Supreme", implying that its incidence in the Maximum Court of the country is as if it were that of one of its members. Rough example of its influence was the trial of Pascual Pichún and Aniceto Norín, who were accused by Figueroa of having burned a property to him, were imprisoned by methods that today are treated in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
Paradoxically, Figueroa referred, in a derogatory tone, to Pichún and Norín as "communists", not knowing that Neruda himself was a militant of the PC and the link with his figure passes through this party, because his sister Aida, also militant communist and was friend of this one and of Matilde Urrutia, its last wife, who ends by transferring the rights of author and the houses of Neruda to this Foundation.
For Manuel, what has made Figueroa is a robbery, since the poet assigned the administration of his properties to the state universities, the CUT, and the Sech. Therefore, the attempt to silence his testimony, responds to the need to hide this situation, he says.
The death of Neruda is not a mere anecdote for Manuel, but has a deep meaning, because in Dictatorship was assassinated the personal secretary of Neruda, Homero Arce, who was passing his writings. But also, his brother is Detained Missing. "Patricio Araya, we have not known where he is for 35 years."
Strange, Manuel thinks, the whole circle near Neruda had problems. In his case, he denounces, has had death threats since he began to draw his testimony and has declared before the Minister Mario Carroza who has been asked to exhume the body of Neruda, in the framework of the investigation into his death, which, like that of thousands of Chileans, is still covered by impunity.
The truth may be delayed, but I am confident that the scientific efforts will deliver the answer that will support the denunciation that I have made and will allow to accuse the murderers of our great universal poet Don Pablo Neruda,