Several representatives of the world of culture lamented this Friday the lack of funds from the Ministry of the Interior to advance in clarifying the death of the poet and former senator Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), just the day that marks the 49th anniversary of his death.
As revealed by Chilevisión, official documents from the Ministry of the Interior rule out the availability of funds until 2024. This is the last panel of international experts to present their conclusions.
Two previous scientific meetings were funded during the second term of former President Michelle Bachelet with Rodrigo Peñailillo (2015) and Mario Fernández (2017).
The events caused laments in cultural circles.
The Society of Writers and Writers of Chile (SECH) deeply regretted the official response given by the government through the Ministry of the Interior, in order that there is no availability of resources to cover the requirement related to the investigation of the death of the poet and Nobel Prize for Literature Pablo Neruda”.
“The SECH, which has just paid tribute to the poet on the 49th anniversary of his death, observes with dismay that neither the previous government nor this one provided funds for this purpose, not even for the year 2023. We sincerely hope that this situation is reversed as soon as possible, facing the country and the international human rights community, since what justice seeks to clarify is precisely whether the poet died or was assassinated,” the entity said.
Mario Rojas, president of the National Union of Artists (UNA), also spoke.
“It seems to me a description, even more so taking into account that tests were requested from other countries, which I imagine will not have been free. The non-authorization of the funds is a reflection, not particularly of this government, but of the appreciation that Chile feels in general for its artists,” he said.
“In the case of Neruda, one of the greatest universal poets, his life should matter much more to all Chileans, and definitely the reasons for his death should concern the public, because it is 49 years since his death and we owe him too much. The memory of Chile is affected, and the heart of art and culture, definitely.”
Another who expressed his annoyance was the filmmaker Luis R. Vera, author of the documentary “Neruda, the man and his work”, who said that clarifying the death of the poet is key given his prestige in the world and the opposition campaign that could have led worldwide against the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.
“It is evident that Neruda’s presence in Chile or abroad was going to be tremendously uncomfortable for the dictatorship,” as happened with other figures such as former Commander-in-Chief of the Army Carlos Prats, assassinated in Buenos Aires in 1974, and former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier, killed in Washington in 1976, both by the DINA.
The decision of the Ministry of the Interior also seems “incomprehensible, even less coming from a government that proposes – and I believe it – the clarification of all the facts that affect human rights.”
“I think it is a decision, to say the least, disconcerting, if not abhorrent, not to allocate resources for the definitive clarification of what the people of Chile and the world require from an assassination of one of their transcendental figures,” he concluded.
Neruda, who suffered from prostate cancer, was admitted to the Santa María Clinic (the same one where former President Eduardo Frei Montalva died in 1982) on September 19 and died just four days later. His funeral became the first open demonstration against the dictatorship after the military coup of September 11, 1973.
His former driver Manuel Araya assured in 2011 that the Nobel Prize winner was given a lethal injection in the stomach, and that same year the Communist Party filed a criminal complaint, and the case was left in the hands of Judge Mario Carroza.
He was exhumed in 2013 and samples of his remains sent to various international laboratories. In 2015, it was announced that “staphylococcus aureus”, a rare bacterium, had been found in them.
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World of Culture criticizes the government for lack of funds to clarify the Neruda Case