Experts to probe death of Nobel-winning poet Pablo Neruda

SANTIAGO, Chile - An international team of genomics experts and forensic specialists said Wednesday it will study the remains of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda to try to solve the cause of his death.

See Full Article

The socialist poet died in the chaos following Chile's 1973 military coup led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Some people have speculated he was poisoned by agents of the right-wing dictatorship.

Neruda's body was exhumed in 2013, but tests showed no toxic agents in his bones. Even so, Chile's government said in 2015 that "it's clearly possible and highly probable that a third party" was involved in his death, although it warned that more tests needed to be carried out.

The remains of Neruda's bones and teeth will be analyzed by a lab at Canada's McMaster University's Ancient DNA Center and the University of Copenhagen's Department of Forensic Medicine.

The panel of experts will focus on identifying pathogenic bacteria that might have caused Neruda's death. The researchers say they will use techniques to "extract, purify and enrich fragments of the bacterial DNA," which they hope will yield genomic data that will help solve the nearly 43-year old mystery surrounding his death.

"The search for the truth of the death of the poet, Pablo Neruda, is a forensic challenge. We hope that the work of the Chilean Human Rights Program and the scientists will contribute to the reconciliation between the various groups in Chile," forensic geneticist Niels Morling, director of the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Copenhagen, said in a statement.

Neruda was best known for his love poems. But he was also a leftist politician and friend of Marxist President Salvador Allende, who killed himself rather than surrender to troops during the Sept. 11, 1973, coup led Pinochet.

Neruda, who was 69 and had prostate cancer, was traumatized by the coup and the persecution and killing of his friends. He planned to go into exile, where he would have been an influential voice against the dictatorship.

But a day before his planned departure, he was taken by ambulance to a clinic in Santiago where he had been treated for cancer and other ailments. Neruda officially died there Sept. 23 from natural causes. But suspicions that the dictatorship had a hand in the death remained long after Chile returned to democracy in 1990.

Although the tests carried out after the exhumation of Neruda's remains showed no signs that he was poisoned, his family and driver demanded further investigation. The judge investigating the case has asked for testing for substances that were not looked for in the first round of tests.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Hollywood Foreign Press group investigating actor Brendan Fraser's groping claim

    Entertainment CBC News
    The Hollywood Foreign Press Association says it is investigating actor Brendan Fraser's claim that its former president, Philip Berk, groped him in 2003. Fraser, 49, best known for his role in The Mummy trilogy, made the accusation in an interview with GQ magazine. Source
  • Female-centric thriller Annihilation faces whitewashing controversy

    Entertainment CBC News
    Taking on the future in the new science fiction movie Annihilation has got director Alex Garland facing issues of the present day. The novelist turned filmmaker lauded for his directorial debut Ex Machina is earning positive reviews for his latest film, but Annihilation — in Canadian theatres Friday — is also attracting controversy around its casting and distribution. Source
  • 5 things you probably didn't know about the Oscars

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- You have a firm grip on this year's Oscar nominees, last year's winners and what host Jimmy Kimmel will undoubtedly joke about (and the best picture award goes to ... oops). But there are aspects of Hollywood's stellar night that may be a surprise. Source
  • Siksika artist's work to hang in National Gallery of Canada after Governor General's Award

    Entertainment CBC News
    An Indigenous visual and performance artist from Alberta — known for his campy persona Buffalo Boy — has won a prestigious national award. Adrian Stimson of Siksika First Nation is being honoured with a 2018 Governor General's Award in visual and media arts. Source
  • Arcade Fire to perform, receive achievement award at the Junos

    Entertainment CBC News
    Arcade Fire have been added as performers to next month's Juno Awards broadcast. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences says it will also give the Montreal indie rockers an international achievement award. Arcade Fire is a leading nominee with four nods — for best group, single, album and alternative album. Source
  • Arcade Fire to perform, and get achievement award, at the Juno Awards

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO - Arcade Fire have been added as performers to next month's Juno Awards broadcast. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences says it will also give the Montreal indie rockers an international achievement award. Source
  • 'Black Panther': Wakandan language is real and hard to learn

    Entertainment CTV News
    JOHANNESBURG -- Much of what is seen in "Black Panther" is fictional, including the country where the movie is based. But in Wakanda, they do speak a language that is very much real, with distinctive clicks and other sounds that had some cast members struggling to speak it. Source
  • French customs officials recover stolen Degas from bus

    Entertainment CTV News
    PARIS -- French customs officers have found an impressionist painting by Edgar Degas stowed on a bus, more than eight years after it was reported stolen. The French Culture Ministry said Friday that customs agents in Marne-la-Vallee were surprised to find a work of art bearing the signature "Degas" inside a suitcase in the bus' luggage compartment. Source
  • Cops: Chevy Chase kicked in roadside altercation in New York

    Entertainment CTV News
    SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. - New York State Police say actor and comedian Chevy Chase was kicked in the shoulder during an altercation with another driver. Police say the 74-year-old Chase was driving in South Nyack on Feb. Source
  • Man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence in dispute

    Entertainment CTV News
    SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. -- A New York man says he kicked Chevy Chase in self-defence after the comedian climbed into a vehicle and tried to punch him during a profanity-laced traffic dispute. Chase told police he was cut off by another driver on Feb. Source