Analgesic Neruda could cause death / Associated Press




It is perhaps impossible to avoid suspicion. Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize for Literature, the great Latin American poet, could have been the great spokesman of the opposition to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. However, he died 24 hours before departure for Mexico, Chile, in the turbulent days following the coup.
While his widow denied a possible murder and his foundation says the same thing, the theory was revived nearly 40 years after making it clear the suspicions that have hung in this nation of 17 million people to the fact that the whole story, sinister and gruesome what happened in the days after the coup remains hidden.

The official version says that the penalty that led the military coup and the death of his close friend, President Allende, he sank into a depression that hastened his illness and killed 12 days later.

But the evidence that Neruda did not die of natural causes on the eve of traveling gained prominence when the Chilean Communist Party (PC) finally decided to hear the petition of Manuel Araya, chauffeur, secretary and bodyguard of the poet, according to which he was killed.

On December 5 Araya requested the exhumation to clear the doubts. He said that Neruda died a few hours after an injection of dipyrone applied it in the stomach, and that caused fever and malaise.

Counsel for the PC, Eduardo Contreras, filed a complaint for the alleged murder of the poet in May, after the Mexican magazine "Proceso" published an interview with Araya caused international uproar.

"It was that year we met Manuel Araya: his story is consistent and verifiable," said Contreras, human rights lawyer. Neruda belonged for 28 years to the PC until the day he died

Araya says a doctor who would not listen to Neruda when he was admitted to a clinic, placed or directed put lethal injection.

Neruda had been held at the Santa Maria Clinic for prostate cancer suffering, for suffering from phlebitis and a hip osteoarthritis. "Coincidentally," Araya said ironically, the doctor Sergio Draper "was passing through the hall, (when) the nurse called saying that Neruda was in pain, and this doctor, very kind, and will place a dipyrone ( an analgesic), and dipyrone ... it kills. "

Araya was not a direct witness to the facts. He says that a nurse told him the story and he can not remember his name.

We attempted to communicate unsuccessfully with Draper calling the clinic and the College of Physicians of India.

But in a report in the magazine Ñ, the Argentine newspaper El Clarin's September 6, 2011 entitled "Who killed Pablo Neruda?" Draper said "Neruda saw only an instant, on Sunday September 23, I not my place to take care of.

"That day the nurse on duty told me that, apparently, Neruda was suffering from severe pain, you said I would apply the injection prescribed by your doctor, if I remember ... I was dipyrone nothing but a partner. It the height that we are constantly under suspicion. "

On 24 September 1973, the Chilean newspaper "El Mercurio" published a similar version of Araya. He said Neruda died "because of a heart attack ... a consequence of a shock suffered. After having been given an injection of painkiller severity worsened", entered a pre-coma state and died at 22:30.

The judge investigating the case of Neruda, Mario Carroza, has not decided whether to order the exhumation of the remains of the poet, buried in Isla Negra, where he lived.

According to counsel Contreras, the judge asked Neruda's medical history but the clinic's medical director, Cristian Ugarte, said that under time, 38 years, is no longer in the archives.

The lawyer said that the information about the hospital, located in the neighboring port of Valparaiso, shows that the disease was under control.

The exhumation, however, may not serve to clarify the doubts. "It is unlikely that the exhumation useful unless you got some other toxic substance in the bone marrow," said Luis Ravanal coroner. "One thing is to identify the substance, but quite another to demonstrate that it is in sufficient concentrations to kill him. I mean, it was difficult to prove lethal or therapeutic dosage."

Araya said he tried eight times, at least, explain to the leadership of the PC that Neruda was poisoned. "I hit so many doors, no one would listen." He said he tried during the dictatorship and after the return of democracy in 1990.

"He was a boy when he worked with Neruda ... no one knew what we were living in a dictatorship, at that time we were not worried of information different from Matilde Urrutia (the widow of the poet)," Contreras said.

Years after his death, in Europe Urrutia said he thought the poet had been murdered, according to press information that is part of the lawsuit.

Neruda and Allende symbolized a turbulent, confrontational era in Chilean history, and their deaths occurring after September 11, 1973 have been shrouded in mystery.

Authorities recently exhumed Allende's body and confirmed that the former president committed suicide and was not captured when troops took the Currency.

Nine years later, in January 1982, died on former President Eduardo Frei Montalva, allegedly poisoned with thallium and mustard gas derivatives in the same Clínica Santa María.

A special judge accused four doctors and two agents of the dictatorship of toxic substances provide the former president. His remains were exhumed and the case is under investigation.

The doctor Draper was one of several doctors called to testify in the process of Frei, who was recovering from a hernia operation at the same clinic but suddenly worsened and died.

Contreras says the poet's death certificate indicates that he died of cachexia: extreme malnutrition caused by rapid weight loss, which causes weakness that prevents developing such minimal activities.

At the time of his death Neruda, however, weighed more than 100 kilos, according to Araya and Mexico's ambassador to Chile in 1973, Gonzalo Martinez Corbalá. He said from Mexico City that "the Pablo Neruda that I spoke with on Saturday 22 (September) was the same as the first day I met him physically (in Isla Negra, in 1972), in her bed, in her bedroom, but lucid ".

The former diplomat, who visited several times Neruda in the clinic to arrange details of his departure, said the poet, "he spoke, joked ... and was very lucid." He said before Araya statements never thought that Neruda had died murdered, but now has "doubts".

He believes that if the poet had come to Mexico, could have become a major opponent of the dictatorship. "The moral story of Neruda was universal, could not have been contained in Mexico and Latin America ... With live Neruda would have been very different," said Martinez.

The Pablo Neruda Foundation, which manages his heritage and legacy, including copyright and administration of their house museums, rejected the argument of the murder. "It does not seem reasonable to build a new version of the poet's death, only on the basis of the opinions of his driver, who has been insisting on this matter without further evidence his opinion," said the foundation in a statement headed Juan Agustín Figueroa .

Among the legacy of Neruda are house-museums and La Chascona La Sebastiana, a five-acre field near his residence in this spa, varied collections gathered throughout his life of books, figureheads, clocks, paintings and copyright of his prolific output.

The house was donated Isla Negra in life to the Communist Party, but the military confiscated the coup the same year. Another house gave it to his ex-wife Delia del Carril.

Araya and agree Contreras clear that the author of "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair" died intestate, as no one saw near his death despite the cancer.

Ambassador Martinez remembered he had a plane waiting at the airport of Santiago and that after she learned how Neruda unfolded repression against opponents in Chile, decided to accept the invitation of the then President Luis Echeverria to travel "as a guest of the government Mexican "on Saturday 22 September.

When the ambassador arrived to find Neruda to the clinic on Saturday, Neruda had just told him to postpone his trip until Monday. Former Mexican diplomat decided not to argue with Pablo Neruda, but the 300 inmates who had mounted on a plane, ready to fly into exile, had to wait on the aircraft locked because if leaving means leaving the territory of Mexico and fall risk Ambassador Martinez said.

It was Sunday, according to Araya, the day the injection was given to Neruda.

Ambassador Martinez attended his funeral in Chascona, home of Santiago. Hours earlier, he had been assaulted by the military that destroyed much of their collections. A small entourage of four or five vehicles left for the General Cemetery. As they approached, they saw rows of soldiers on each side of the street procession.

Despite the threat of the soldiers pointing their rifles, people began to coalesce gradually. Urrutia and some ambassadors got out of the car and started walking.

Suddenly the procession grew to reach approximately five hundred people. The crowd began to sing the anthem of the Socialist International, until the murmur became a singing loudly.