Mario Casasús: "The Neruda Foundation defends the legal order of Pinochet"

By Annalisa Melandri

Mario Casasús, the most prominent researcher of the death of Pablo Neruda, denounces the responsibilities of those who had the moral duty to preserve political and institutional legacy of Chilean poet did: Matilde Urrutia and Neruda Foundation President

Exclusive interview for Linkiesta

"I leave it to the unions
copper, coal and salt
seaside home in Isla Negra.
I want the abused children are resting there
of my country, sacked by ax and traitors,
thwarted in his sacred blood,
volcanic consumed in rags "
Pablo Neruda. Testament I, Canto general (Mexico, 1950)

Mexican journalist Mario Casasús nerudista has coauthored Chilean sociologist Francisco Marín, the controversial book "The double murder of Neruda" (Eight Books Editors) presented at the Santiago Book Fair on October 31, 2012.

In this publication the authors collected the testimony and reporting by Manuel Araya, who was appointed by the Communist Party of Chile as a driver, bodyguard and assistant to the poet Pablo Neruda and worked in the service of it until the day of his death in Santa Maria Clinic in Santiago, Chile, on the night of September 23, 1973.
Pablo Neruda was hospitalized at the clinic protecting the military and waiting to travel to Mexico City as the government of that country had granted political asylum because of the situation that crossed Chile, where 12 days earlier had settled military dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet.

The official version of Neruda's death reports a prostate cancer aggravated the poet suffering from almost two years. However, Manuel Araya never believed in the official story. He complains that the same Pablo Neruda few hours before his death told that a doctor had made a strange shot in the stomach by which it had ballooned lot, and insurance is said that the poet was murdered by agents of the dictatorship. After receiving the call from Neruda on September 23, Manuel Araya was abducted by the military and detained at the National Stadium where fu subjected to violent torture as the confidence man "Neruda communist". Just to get out, 45 days later, he learned that the poet had died.

Chilean Judge Mario Chariot, has ordered the reopening of the case and exhume the body of Pablo Neruda was made on 8 April. The poet's body will be moved from the museum house of Isla Negra where it lay, to Santiago, Chile, where a national and international team will analyze in search of foreign substances.
Mario Casasús, the foremost researcher Pablo Neruda's death, makes it clear in this interview, some dark spots of history, but above all, denounces the responsibilities of those who had the moral duty to preserve political and institutional legacy of Chilean poet and political expediency and greed did not: Pablo Neruda's wife at the time, and the Neruda Foundation in the person of its president.

Mario, first of all, let's start with the title of the book, why "The double murder of Neruda"?

The alleged murder happened biological September 23, 1973, on the eve of Neruda trip to Mexico, everything was ready: the plane, the CLP, luggage, books and notarial documents Cantalao Neruda Foundation designed in 1973, by the way the government of Mexico had decided to support the project financially the poet for scholarships for young writers and American artists. Undoubtedly, Neruda would be the key figure in Chilean exile, his friends would call intellectuals and politicians around the world, I imagine that would also work with Mexican authorities a strategy to protect their copyright, their real estate and compliance that was his true political testament: Cantalao.

The "double murder of Neruda" refers to the legacy kidnapping, betrayal committed by Juan Agustín Figueroa regarding the failure of the last will of the poet, the murder of his spirit and image, prostitution Neruda Foundation worst of Pinochet. Prior to the centennial of Neruda (2004), the Foundation decided to invest their copyrights (2.3 million USD) in the company Cristalerías Chile, owned by Ricardo Claro - who was an adviser to Pinochet from the September 12, 1973, coordinator of the Kissinger's visit to Chile in 1976, sponsor of the intelligence services of the dictatorship and facilitator of two ships of the South American Steamship Company as transfer and torture centers. Another case that demonstrates the lack of commitment to poetry and ideology of the poet who has the Neruda Foundation when it endorsed counterfeiting of three books: Popular Anthology 1972, The Journal of Temuco and parliamentary speeches.

I could spend all day listing the financial irregularities and denouncing the political profile of the Foundation, but here I want to mention the most devastating news this year: Neruda Foundation humbled Union workers Isla Negra, La Sebastiana and The Chascona that had gone on strike for higher wages by threatening layoffs and replace them with audio-guides.

Neruda Foundation then represents the antithesis of all that was the poet Neruda promoted to the government of Salvador Allende creating Mapuche University, but the president for life of the Neruda Foundation, who is also a lawyer and wealthy landowner, who has been has sought and achieved the Terrorism Act, a legacy of the dictatorship, was applied in the trials against the Mapuche in 2003; Neruda invited the Chilean university presidents, unions and the Society of Writers to administer its founding in Juan Agustín Figueroa change invited his wife, his sister, his best friend, a lawyer from the firm Figueroa & Associates, becoming the Foundation in the private estate of landowner Juan Agustín Figueroa.

What are your expectations regarding the exhumation of the body of Pablo Neruda?

Forensic tests seek to determine two things: the presence of drugs and toxic substances, but 40 years later is unlikely. The judge also has not yet decided whether to send some samples to the most advanced laboratories in the world, for example in Sweden, Switzerland and Canada. Plaintiff attorneys Eduardo Contreras and Rodolfo Reyes have requested, but the judge has not issued its ruling-that is, by the time the forensic team is made up four Chileans and four foreigners, however should include scientists from Sweden, Switzerland and Canada to improve the technical possibilities of the laboratories. I am convinced that the more scientists involved in the forensic investigation will have more chances to reach the truth.

The second objective, feasible in any country, would locate cancer metastasis in the right pelvis. We believe that Neruda's cancer was under control after two operations in France and 56 sessions of radiotherapy applied cobalt in Valparaiso in 1973.

Neruda radiography of December 6, 1972 describes a normal pelvis, Matilde Urrutia said the prognosis of Neruda was 5-6 years from operations in France. Significantly, will undertake the second operation, he would never have done if the cancer had been branched. The September 19, 1973, Neruda entering the Santa Maria Clinic, doctors gave the prognosis of a year of life, ie the coup had indeed affected the poet who also suffered from complicated urinary tract infection (we know from urine tests that are in the court file). The question then is: Why Neruda died on the eve of exile?, What killed the poet?

The death certificate reports, "cancer cachexia", a syndrome of extreme malnutrition and loss catatonic motor and intellectual faculties. The problem is that the press release and the certificate drafted by the clinical dysfunction are not compatible. In the first document refers to a "cardiac arrest" and that the clinic bulletin was retaken by El Mercurio: "The poet Pablo Neruda died last night of a heart attack victim that caused the death at 2230 hours. It was reported that at the time of his death he was accompanied by his wife, Matilde Urrutia, and his sister Laura. The Chilean poet had been hospitalized in serious condition at the clinic said on Saturday (22). Following a shock result after having been suffered since their seriousness injection deepened "(24/09/1973).

What was your impression Manuel Araya, Neruda's driver? The first public statement of their suspicions regarding the murder of Neruda apparently did in 2004. Why do so many years after the poet's death?

Manuel Araya was arrested and tortured on September 23, 1973 and his brother, Patricio Araya, was arrested and disappeared on March 12, 1976, we believe to send a message to the driver of Neruda or because they mistook him Manuel. On February 6, 1977, died in consequence of a beating Homer Arce. He was secretary and friend of the poet, gave police intelligence agencies arrested him and release him died in the Hospital Barros Luco. Dr. Francisco Velasco-owner of Neruda's house in Valparaiso, was tortured on the boat The Lebú sailors knew who he was, mocked his friendship with the poet. The restorer of Neruda's houses, Jaime Maturana, was tortured at Villa Grimaldi and has two brothers disappeared by the dictatorship. In short: there was a hedge against the repressive and closest friends Neruda. Don Manuel Araya reported in 1974 to the murder of the widow Matilde Neruda, but she ignored him. Recall that there was no independent press during the dictatorship. Don Manuel had been isolated and afraid.
With the return of "democracy", Don Manuel insisted on denouncing the murder of Neruda, but no one took him seriously: the first Concertación government had agreed with Pinochet and second Concertación government had rescued the trial in Madrid , was therefore useless to the complaint. The appointment date, 2004, is tested twice: the newspaper The Leader-the port of San Antonio in 2004 published Ayala's complaint that was echoed in May 2011 by the magazine Proceso. Then nobody listened because all culture media was focused on the centennial of Neruda. While Leader is a regional newspaper that belongs to Mercury ofthe chain, which sends dispatches to news agencies worldwide, The Mercurioentonces did nothing to spread the world exclusive.

The second document proving the date of 2004 is a letter from the official response of Ricardo Lagos (the third coalition government that continued the legacy of Pinochet), where Manuel Araya deny meeting with President of Chile, " scheduling problems ".

I think Don Manuel Araya, I confronted live and by phone, I kept track of all his statements and basically does not lie, nor has wrong dates and circumstances in November 1972 to September 1973.

What was the last will of Pablo Neruda?, What the foundation was designed by Neruda?

Annalisa, I quote verbatim what I wrote for the double murder of Neruda:

"The statutes of the Foundation Cantalao-published in full in the final chapter of this book point out each of the terms, provisions and transitory provisions for the 'Charitable Foundation whose purpose is the spread of letters, arts and sciences, especially on the coast between San Antonio and Valparaiso. In the fifth article, on the Executive Board and ¬ - the foundation shall consist of seven members: a) two representatives of Pablo Neruda, b) the directors of the University of Chile, Catholic University and the State Technical University , or persons on their behalf designate, c) a representative of the Central Workers d) a representative of the Writers of Chile ". (Public Notary Casablanca, Region of Valparaiso, 1973).

The Foundation Directory Cantalao reflects the plurality of voices, the desire academic and political profile Neruda wanted to manage your copyright, library and real estate. It was his will, legalized by a Notary Public of Casablanca in the Valparaíso Region. The University of Chile accepted the commission: "The Senior Management Committee of the University of Chile had adopted, on May 9, 1973, the decision to participate in the constitution of the entity called Cantalao" (Neruda. The Furies and penalties, 2008). The facilities include Cantalao Foundation "guest units, a theater, open and closed spaces for exhibitions of ceramics and sculptures, an aquarium and a facility for the permanent exhibition of Conchology" (Notary of Casablanca, Region of Valparaiso, 1973).

So what was the will of Neruda?

I quote what I wrote in the double murder of Neruda: "The contradictions of Matilda on the inheritance of the poet are obvious:" The September 11, 1973, attorney Sergio Insunza come with the statutes of the Pablo Neruda Foundation, with the will of Paul, "he writes at the beginning of his memoirs. Then retracts: "Paul did not leave a will" (My Life with Pablo Neruda, 1986). Aida Figueroa (sister of Juan Agustín Figueroa and Sergio Insunza wife, lawyer Neruda and Justice minister government of Salvador Allende) committed an indiscretion in 1974 - to delineate the steps taken by her husband Sergio Insunza, counsel for Neruda : "I had a will drafted. Missing only legal tune and shape "(Funeral guarded, 1978). Tying the ends over effective possession of the inheritance of the Chilean Nobel, is a question: will Neruda issued and have hidden, like Cantalao statutes? ".

Does the Neruda Foundation is preserving the tangible and intangible heritage of the poet?

No, the Neruda Foundation is the metaphor of the Chilean transition: the Pinochet claimed Ricardo Claro, profit from the legacy and the extreme of absurdity prostitute: Neruda Foundation authorized the corrupt businessman Angel Maulén the pseudonym for the luxury hotel chain Neruda Santiago and Vina del Mar, the Foundation authorized the corrupt businessman Sebastián Piñera the pseudonym for the VIP room of LAN Chile Neruda, the Foundation is a cultural brothel European and American tourists, sell them around a bit, like red wine Neruda chocolates Neruda, Neruda clothing, photo postcards with Neruda, chains and other items of private miscellany Juan Agustín Figueroa.

Neruda Foundation does not respect the last wishes of the poet and even mocked his legacy. Read what Juan Agustín Figueroa said: "When Matilde wanted to give legal form to the foundation turned to me, now, she retained some draft Paul primitive ideas about the foundation" (The Nation 09/06/2005). Any idea primitive?, The Board of Directors of the Foundation Cantalao is edgy, plural and academic.

Annalisa, read what you said director Fernando Sáez Foundation: "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" (Dynamo 13/02 / 2013). The September 11, 1973 Neruda receive the legal documents Cantalao Foundation, Homer Arce made the proceedings in La Moneda and President Salvador Allende had gone to Isla Negra but for sedition coup, saying that the political will Neruda's "never had legal personality or legality" is void history and claim the "legal order" imposed by Pinochet. It is the icing on the cake, every time he opens his mouth some Neruda Fundo official is evident Pinochet neoliberal profile.

What role has been played since the September 23 Neruda's widow, Matilde Urrutia, and what it is your opinion based on your studies?

The great contribution of Manuel Araya complaint has been that for the first time have confronted all versions on the last day of Neruda with irregularities, inaccuracies, errors and lies of Matilde Urrutia. During the dictatorship, Matilde was in and out of Chile without problems, any opposition to the Pinochet regime had the privilege of traveling the world and return to Chile quietly. I am convinced that Matilde Urrutia negotiated with the dictatorship in exchange for her silence allowed him to live in Chile: the widow confided his suspicions about the murder of Neruda only two people you trust: a Chilean nurse Rosita Nunez and Spanish journalist Luis Maria Anson.

We can not trust the posthumous memoirs of Matilde Urrutia, the poet Gustavo Adolfo Becerra, secretary of Neruda's widow between 1983 and 1984, for example, does not recognize the "fatherhood" of Matilde's posthumous memoir he wrote and ensures that Neruda Foundation executives changed the title, which explains many things for himself: "I was born to be understood in darkness" (1986), instead they put something as cheesy as "My Life with Pablo Neruda" (1986 ). The first edition of this book came out in November 1986, Matilda died on January 5, 1985, the leeway to make changes to the posthumous memoirs of Matilda was one year and ten months, incomprehensible term if we consider the Neruda's posthumous memoir came out on March 23, 1974, six months after the poet's death, and in both cases, the manuscripts were literary agent Carmen Balcells. Matilde's memoirs due out six months after his death, not two years apart.

The official history of the Neruda Foundation is based on the posthumous memoirs of Matilde Urrutia, but we were allowed to read the original manuscript written by Gustavo Adolfo Becerra.

What kind of coverage had to exhume Neruda by the Chilean press?

The Chilean press omitted the Reyes family legally represented by Rodolfo Reyes, Neruda direct nephew, joined the lawsuit to clarify the alleged murder of a poet, (99% of the Reyes family has supported Neruda exhumation) and any Chilean media reported that Rodolfo Reyes refused entry to any officer of the Neruda Foundation to witness the exhumation. It was a solemn ceremony, kept five minutes of silence, Neruda relatives carried the coffin and wrapped in a flag of Chile. The only downside was that the 8 forensic experts accepted the invitation to go to dinner at the Inn Santa Elena, owned by the key witness Neruda Foundation, the folklorist Cofré Charo. Upon hearing the terrible news, I remembered when international juries American Award Neruda's staying at the Hotel Neruda Providencia, one of the lucrative business of Juan Agustín Figueroa.

By Annalisa Melandri