The remains of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda to be exhumed today

Posted Apr 8, 2013 by Igor I. Solar
Today, April 8 at 8 AM (local time) is scheduled to begin the exhumation of the remains of Chilean poet, Nobel Prize winner 1971, Pablo Neruda, who according to the official report on his death, on September 23, 1973, died from cancer of the prostate.
Poet Pablo Neruda sits next to Salvador Allende.
Poet Pablo Neruda sits next to Salvador Allende.
The remains of the poet, Nobel Prize of Literature of 1971, will be removed from his tomb in the coastal town of Isla Negra and taken to the Forensic Medical Service (SML) of Santiago for relevant studies, including radiology and toxicology tests.
"We will proceed with the removal of the casket with the body of the poet, which will be sealed with a guarantee chain. The remains will be transferred to the anthropology lab of the Forensic Medical Service, which will have all the bio-safety and surveillance conditions allowing the start of the work by various experts"said yesterday the director of Chile’s Forensic Medical Service (SML) Patricio Bustos, according to ElMercurio (in Spanish).
The analysis will be used to find signs of the disease affecting the deceased poet or to see if there was any other possible cause for his death. The latter possibility is being investigated by Judge Mario Carroza, after the poet's former driver Manuel Araya, revealed his suspicions that Neruda may have been poisoned in the Santa Maria Clinic, where he was interned while waiting to travel to exile 12 days after the coup that overthrew President Salvador Allende of Chile. Carroza's inquiry, which took place during 2011-2 found enough evidence to order the exhumation.
The first work of exhumation began at 15:00 hrs.yesterday. At this time, the house-museum of Neruda in Isla Negra was completely closed to the public. SML staff arrived to prepare the site of the tomb containing the remains of the poet and those of his third wife Matilde Urrutia.
The team of experts who will participate in the process of analyzing the remains of Neruda is composed of four experts from the MLS, four of the University of Chile and four international experts. It is anticipated that the thanatological analysis may last for about three months.
The judge in charge of the investigation stated that "once the question is on the table, I think it is extremely important to elucidate and make a decision with the technological means we have, on what would have been the cause of the death of the poet." Carroza did not ruled out that further analysis may be conducted abroad.
Pablo Neruda’s real name was Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, however, his original pen-name, Neruda, became his legal name. He wrote surrealist poems, historical epics, political manifestos, and beautiful romantic poems such as those published in 1924, at the age of 19, under the title “Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair”. Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once called him "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language."
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
Write, for example, "The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance."
The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.
Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.
She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
(Excerpt from Poem XX, "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair”, Pablo Neruda, 1904-1973)