Chile announced Wednesday that the death of Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda will be reinvestigated to ascertain if the poet was poisoned in 1973 during the first days of the South American nation’s military dictatorship.
Neruda, a staunch communist whose love poems some consider to be among the most romantic ever written, was presumed to have died of prostate cancer following a U.S.-backed coup that led to the merciless rule of dictator Augusto Pinochet. However, many suspect that he was murdered, reports Reuters.
“There is initial evidence that he was poisoned and in that sense the signs point to the intervention of specific agents … that could constitute a crime against humanity,” said Francisco Ugas, the head of Chile’s humans rights department.
Neruda was a loyal follower of ousted President Salvadore Allende, leading to suspicions he was murdered to silence a potential powerful dissenting voice against the new military dictatorship.
Neruda’s chauffeur claims Pinochet’s operatives injected the poet’s stomach with poison while he was bed-ridden by illness.