Gustavo Becerra: "The title of the book was Matilde Urrutia: I was not born to be read in darkness"

By Mario Casasus, 01/04/2013



In an interview with Gustavo Adolfo Clarí Becerra (1954), Chilean poet and filmmaker, talks about the work to prepare reports of Matilde Urrutia between 1983 and 1984: "I was aware of the historical task and therefore professional rigor I took that mission. At first glance, this document is a true copy of what I submitted. In fact the title is not the same. I think there was intervention by Jorge Edwards, no doubt, in some geographical and target more precise dates. I do not know if those issues only. The Neruda Foundation should expose typed the final copy that I gave, to compare them accurately. We had finished the last stage of interviews a few days before his death, and told to transcribe Matilde recent stories and place them in the appropriate chapters to give coherence to the book, in short, was completed. "

MC. - Gustavo, why believe in the possibility of murder Neruda?, What is your opinion on the upcoming exhumation of the poet?

GB. - The background systematized in the Rettig Report-now-and in many public complaints from relatives of the disappeared, human rights groups, pre-show and show that anything was possible: the merciless cruelty was the preferred method terrorize and immobilize society. Every crime, kidnapping and detention bared aberrations that security agencies did with those who considered political opponents. They could do so because they had the support and complicity of the state, and they did. If they did with others, why not could do with Neruda!
Repeatedly Matilde Urrutia asked if he thought that Paul may have been murdered: destroyed their homes, installed a warship at sea of Isla Negra, raided several times traveling in the ambulance to the Medical Center patient, his books were Outlaws, might well have been killed. In private, so we discussed with our closest friends. In those days, we did not know the testimony of Manuel Araya. In response she had degrading treatment he had received at Clinica Santa Maria and they had to suffer the three women in their underground, waiting outside the morgue, the corpse of the poet.
I think the exhumation of Paul is a deserved tribute to Don Manuel Araya, his toughness: whatever the truth unveiled will culminate with the rule of justice, whatever those responsible. This is good for those who love poetry and life of Paul, but also the whole of Chilean society. Remove the earth is a very important social metaphor.

MC. - During the trial for the alleged murder journalists have questioned the book "My Life with Pablo Neruda" (1986). When you went back to read the posthumous memoirs of Matilde Urrutia?,? Descartarías intervention or John Edwards Jorge Agustín Figueroa in the manuscript?

GB. - The day of the death of Matilda, began to get lots of international media, social and political groups, ordinary citizens. The people responsible for the safety of the house, were members of the Communist Youth. They came with their shirts resguardaron colored amaranth and Paul's house and Matilde. They put locks on the doors and were custodians of heritage trust Paul.
Some representatives of the Foundation, they found that these young people were not reliable. I had been a privileged witness to the responsible and ethical attitude of these young people. It seemed to me that the apparent mistrust those who want to smear had shown that people were concrete and coherent, had a hint of darkness. That was my first encounter with some of the representatives of the Foundation site, which discouraged me to continue their public performances, even to inform me of what they did or did not do.
The days following the death of Matilde, the attitude assumed was even more questionable. One morning, I arrived and the maid, he says: - "Look, Gustavo, all the junk that was in the part of Mrs. Matilda". I took three papers at random. One was a letter from Graciela Alvarez, where he thanked him for a contribution made by Matilde. Another was that of a girl who apologized for falling in love with Paul, "Paul was hers and Paul's love" - argued. The third did not see it. I was too upset. Although, some of their attitudes are questionable, Matilde worked meticulously photocopying and putting Paul's original manuscripts including rice paper.
There are many essential tasks to undertake, especially related to the promotion and defense of human rights, and which demanded my participation as a writer. And where also found satisfaction effectively contribute to human development and the usefulness of virtue.
I spent part of my time to process memories scriptural. His historical consciousness of the task and therefore the professionalism with which I took this mission. At first glance, this document is a true copy of what I submitted. In fact the title is not the same. I think there was intervention by Jorge Edwards, no doubt, in some geographical and target more precise dates. I do not know if those issues only. The Neruda Foundation should expose typed the final copy I gave to Roberto Parada, to compare them accurately. We had finished the last stage of interviews a few days before his death, and told to transcribe Matilde recent stories and place them in the appropriate chapters to give coherence to the book, in short, was completed.
Matilde Urrutia sacramental zealously kept the fact we wrote his memoirs, so that was a big surprise for all the Foundation and Edwards himself, having met me at the Chascona. Apparently, there was friendship between them and Matilde, but not trust.

MC. - Neruda's widow treated badly Homer Maple, accused him of trying to censor the last chapter of "I confess that I have lived" (1974), but Laura Arrué, Virginia and Germán Vidal argue that Matilde Marin Homer for having defamed Neruda won $ 200 in the Santa Maria Clinic (sic). Was it unfair Matilde with best friend and secretary of the poet?, Why not say a word the murder of Homer Arce?

GB. - There were two Matildes within Matilde. She managed to both. He had that virtue. Memories and stories I knew, one of them speak. The original title of his memoir was "born to be understood not in darkness" denoting this duplicity: one, it was really, who would like to socialize, and another, the others understood it was. His intention, I think, was digging in the other Matilde to be protagonist of this story.
He took his time to answer each of my questions. Although the intention was to dispel this cloud, scripturally was entered into a new cloud. In this area is the movie filmed in Peru, his lifeless life testimonial in his youth, his stay in Mexico, some intervals related to the poet's death, the time he lived in the Hotel Crillon. My sieges to dig a little deeper in that Matilda had no greater success and finally remembered what she wanted to remember-on the other Matilde-remembered memories and selected those who want to stop writing. I had no other way to be respectful of their silences. On the other hand, is the Matilde who wanted to take what Paul had done in his place and was an active participant in the defense of human rights in Chile.
I was struck that official mail which poets resorted. He had a high position even so he managed to help, including Neruda. Matilda never wanted to Arrué Laura, wife of Homer Maple, perhaps because it was Paul's girlfriend in youth. By extension does not speak much of Neruda's secretary. Homer was unfair, and perhaps it was with other people. One such Matildes, tried to avoid anything that could overshadow him. I think undoubtedly Homer fits into this category.

MC. - Did not you interested to include your credit Seix Barral in "My Life with Pablo Neruda" as secretary of Matilde Urrutia?

GB. - The Foundation, through Edwards, pledged to include my name as editor of the memoirs of Matilde Urrutia. Broke their word.

MC. - Few people appear with their full names, surname omitted Matilde nurse Rosita Nunez, erased the name of Manuel Araya and Delia Dominguez, and annulled the marriage history of Neruda and Delia del Carril, whereas the person that appears more times is Juan Agustín Figueroa. What do you think of the name day of judgment posthumous memoir?

GB. - I have the impression that one of the people was respected by Sergio Insunza Matilde, it generated great confidence. Confidence in every age is a factor in human relationships, but at the time of Chile was vital. Insunza always thought would be the Neruda Foundation President. I never thought that someone else would take the presidency. Sometimes, those who are now members of the Foundation came with books, others with flowers and other foods she could not eat for their disease. Matilde quipped with this.

MC. - Matilde told La Tercera: "We have formed the so-called 'Fundación Pablo Neruda' .... There are five people running it and the statutes are the same that left Paul "(9/18/1983), but Neruda appointed rectors of three universities, the CUT, the SECH and two people you trust to administer its Foundation. What did you know Cantalao Statutes?, What do you attribute the failure of the last will of Neruda?

GB. - Cantalao Statutes, did not know directly but had heard of them. Yes knew the "Pablo Neruda Foundation for the development of poetry," which was the cornerstone of that intention more.
To keep the spirit that Paul wanted to respect their will and literary, made him see the historical and the heritage that was the creation of the Foundation. He also suggested that it appoint Matilda Rector of the Technical University, Enrique Kirberg-whom he knew only by historical references, as a member of the Foundation, to a representative of the human rights world-Jaime Castillo Velasco, Bernardo Reyes, nephew of Paul, to ensure the participation of poets, and Luis Sanchez Latorre as representative of the Society of Writers, at first agreed but then chose another path.
Without wanting to abuse your trust, I sent my concerns about the new composition of the board of the Foundation, who could intervene or advise Matilde, and should be aware of everything related to the Foundation.

MC. - The architect Miguel Lawner wrote: "In the vicinity of Matilda's death broke all kinds of conjectures concerning the Neruda Foundation or his will, subject to Matilde administered with utmost secrecy. I regret having failed to win their trust. It was not the right person for that. I arrived late, did not enjoy the pedigree enough to overcome their reservations "(06/01/1985). Who frequented Matilde?, Is meeting with people linked to the Communist Party?

GB. - Over Matilde ever talked to about this architect from the world of culture, actively contributed to the advent of democracy. Miguel had a great moral stature and has. He was the Executive Director of public tributes to Neruda in Caupolicán Theatre where Matilde Urrutia own, had the opportunity to say a few stirring words. I organized a couple of meetings between them. The result explains Miguel better than me.
The few people visited. Matilda had a special affection for Recabarren Ana Gonzalez, Monica Araya with her and I think, in May 1978, conducted a twenty-four hour fast in the U.S. Embassy. Anita had such transparency that few humans can exhibit. It also has an ethical attitude that emphasizes his way of being in the world. In no event went unnoticed. Matilde was impressed with this woman: clear in its precepts, straight into his conduct, active in their action. Many times we talk about it and suffering he carried.
Also visited a Communist Party member, was apparently named Ivan. Every so often came to solicit input from Matilda to the cause. The boy from the door showed him the red envelope where she deposited the contribution. Matilde was waiting with joy. Just as the visiting priest and writer Mariano Puga, Monica Echeverria.

MC. - The director Fernando Saez said: "The Foundation Cantalao not reached to sign, never had legal personality or legality, because it was an idea that Neruda was the end of his days" (Dinamo 2.13.2013). And Juan Agustín Figueroa said: "When Matilde wanted to give legal form to the foundation appealed to me, now, she retained some drafts of primitive ideas of Paul regarding the foundation" (The Nation 09.06.2005). Do you share both arguments?,? Cantalao was a primitive idea of Neruda without legal and illegal?

GB. - Do not agree with the arguments of Figueroa. Nor know who Fernando Sáez. When Paul is 50 years old and as part of its celebration includes the "Pablo Neruda Foundation for the development of poetry." He was the great chancellor of the University of Chile in that ceremony, Juan Gómez Millas and important intellectuals of the time. It was in Michoacan, the home where he lived with Delia del Carril. On the occasion, he donated his library and collection of shells to College: moral attitude which makes consistent back attitude. His library had a huge economic value and, nevertheless, collaborative sense prevailed.
Since that time, Paul kept that dream became more real with the purchase of land and the help of his close friends. All this was broken with the coup. Matilde told me on many occasions that this day would sign the final documents Cantalao Foundation. If they were going to sign, it was because the documents were written and validated by the poet.

MC. - Began the year with the strike of the Union of Workers of the Neruda Foundation, and in August 2005 denounced the copyright of Neruda's investment in the company of Ricardo Claro Pinochet. Will I ever lose the sense of wonder and get used to seeing the legacy of Neruda as part of the private estate of John A. Figueroa?

GB. - Sorry.

MC. - Finally, 30 years later and with the new criminal record, would you go back to work as secretary of Matilde Urrutia?

GB. - Nearly forty years after the military coup, the assessment and evaluation is one of the events is very different. There is a longer analysis, a more thoughtful meditation, to better understand what could have been done more efficiently, which was more accurate, even fairer. Nor had the technological and scientific instruments available to analyze what happened in consciousness in the environment. Decision making was much more complex and less informed than now. Many readings are then reinterpreted at every turn. Social facts and memorization required more instruments that the materials available to us.