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

  • Ryan Gosling, Denis Villeneuve among Canadians likely to get Oscar nominations

    Entertainment CBC News
    When this year's Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday, there's a good chance some Canadians will be prominently in the mix, most notably Quebec director Denis Villeneuve and London, Ont.-born actor Ryan Gosling. The in-demand duo, who are working together on the upcoming sci-fi film noir Blade Runner 2049, has already racked up a long list of honours separately on the awards circuit. Source
  • Shyamalan's 'Split' divides competition to rule box office

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- M. Night Shyamalan's psychological thriller "Split" blew away box-office expectations, earning an estimated $40.2 million in ticket sales over inauguration weekend. Though many were focused on Friday's presidential inauguration and Saturday's nationwide women's marches, "Split" doubled forecasts to easily lead all films. Source
  • No more nerds, sex bombs: Female animators draw away cliches

    Entertainment CTV News
    SANTA CLARITA, Calif. -- The California Institute of the Arts was created partly by Walt Disney's desire to bring more top-flight animators into the profession. And it has during its 47 years, though for a long time almost all were men. Source
  • Neon sign from legendary Whisky a Go Go up for auction

    Entertainment CTV News
    BIDDEFORD, Maine -- A bright neon piece of rock 'n' roll history is going up for auction -- a marquee from the legendary Los Angeles club, Whisky a Go Go. The 13-foot sign, with letters alight in bright pink, adorned the West Hollywood club in the '80s and '90s, during the heyday of punk, new wave and grunge. Source
  • No 'Trump' sketch but SNL unleashes 'Putin'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Just how was “Saturday Night Live” going to tackle the pageantry, protests and press conferences that dominated President Trump’s inauguration and first day in office? By unleashing Vladimir Putin. Alec Baldwin, who has been playing Trump since the fall in a parody that Trump himself has repeatedly criticized as mean-spirited and bad, didn’t reprise the impersonation in the first post-inauguration episode. Source
  • Cyberattack on Sundance film fest briefly shuts down box office

    Entertainment CBC News
    Representatives for the Sundance Film Festival say that their network systems were subject to a cyberattack that caused its box offices to shut down briefly Saturday afternoon. The Festival issued updates to attendees via their official account and say that online ticketing for future shows is currently back up and running. Source
  • Celebrities out in full force for Women's Marches

    Entertainment CBC News
    If you wondered where many of Hollywood's A-list celebrities had gone during U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration, you didn't have to wonder any longer on Saturday, when scores of them showed up at huge women's marches in Washington and other cities to send the new president a pointed message that he was in for a fight. Source
  • Madonna, Scarlett Johansson, Miley Cyrus among celebs at women's marches

    Entertainment CBC News
    If you wondered where many of Hollywood's A-list celebrities had gone during U.S. President Donald Trump's inauguration, you didn't have to wonder any longer on Saturday, when scores of them showed up at huge women's marches in Washington and other cities to send the new president a pointed message that he was in for a fight. Source
  • Ryan Gosling and Denis Villeneuve make waves ahead of Oscar nominations

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- When this year's Oscar nominations are announced on Tuesday there's a good chance some Canadians will be prominently in the mix, most notably Quebec director Denis Villeneuve and London, Ont.-born actor Ryan Gosling. Source
  • 'Cardinal', 'Mary Kills People', 'Scandal' and 'Suits' top this week's TV must-sees

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Bill Harris' TV must-sees for the week of Jan. 22 1. Cardinal Debut When the body of a missing girl is found in a wintry Northern Canadian town, detectives John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) investigate. Source