This week, a panel of international experts investigating the death of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, will be handing over to Judge Mario Carroza a report which is expected to confirm the assassination.
Manuel Araya, Neruda’s former chauffeur, declined from specific comments. He has, however, described his participation in the investigations as a duty to the poet’s memory and especially given that he was the last person to have seen Neruda prior to his death.
Neruda had been transferred to the Clinica Santa Maria where he was being treated for prostate cancer while awaiting arrangements to go into exile. Araya accompanied Neruda during his stay at the clinic, until he was asked to buy a prescription from outside the clinic upon doctor’s orders. Araya, however, was detained and taken to Estadio Nacional.
The chauffeur has consistently maintained that Neruda was injected with a substance in his stomach by a doctor, presumably a DINA agent, named Dr Price. It is speculated that the identity of Dr Price might be Michael Townley, a US agent working for both the CIA and DINA and who is known to have experimented with chemical weapons upon detainees at Cuartel Simon Bolivar.
The dictatorship’s official version was that Neruda had died from advanced prostate cancer. However, subtle preparation for Neruda’s death was disseminated through the media, warning Chileans that if Neruda died, it would be of natural causes. The timing of such statements so close to Neruda’s death indicate dictatorship complicity.