SANTIAGO – The Chilean judge overseeing the investigation into the cause of poet Pablo Neruda’s death on Wednesday ordered the return of the Nobel laureate’s remains to his tomb in the town of Isla Negra.
The poet’s body was exhumed on April 8, 2013, after a complaint that he might have been murdered by agents of the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
The poet’s remains will be transferred to Isla Negra, a coastal town some 120 km (75 mi.) from Santiago, on April 26, Judge Mario Carroza said.
The text of the ruling says that the reinterment was ordered “taking into account the prolonged time that has transpired since the exhumation” and the fact that “all the scientific procedures decreed in the order have been completed.”
At the same time, by recommendation of international expert Angel Carrecedo, Carroza ordered “bone samples (be kept) in reserve.”
Neruda died on Sept. 23, 1973, 12 days after Pinochet toppled Chile’s Socialist government in a bloody coup.
The poet and former diplomat’s death was officially blamed on prostate cancer, but an investigation was opened in mid-2011 after a complaint was filed by Neruda’s Communist Party colleagues based on charges by former chauffeur Manuel Araya that Neruda was murdered on Pinochet’s orders.
Agents of the dictatorship administered a lethal injection to Neruda, Araya said, after the poet had agreed to travel to Mexico to head the exiled opposition to the Pinochet regime.
A group of Chilean and international experts concluded in November 2013 that Neruda had not been poisoned, but Carroza ruled that their results were not conclusive and ordered new tests.
Last October, Neruda’s family said the poet must have died after having been injected with a highly aggressive, penicillin-resistant bacterium.