The Korea Herald


Chile court orders remains of poet Neruda exhumed

By 조정은

Published : Feb. 10, 2013 - 11:26

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A Chilean judge has ordered the remains of poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda exhumed in a probe into whether he died of cancer as commonly believed or was killed by agents serving Augusto Pinochet.

The exhumation was announced Friday by the foundation that manages his literary legacy.

The leftist poet, who died 12 days after the 1973 military coup that ousted socialist president Salvador Allende and brought General Augusto Pinochet to power, was long believed to have died of prostate cancer.

But officials in 2011 started looking into the possibility he was poisoned by agents of the Pinochet regime, as claimed by Neruda's driver and aide.

Neruda is best known for his love poems as well as his "Canto General" -- an epic poem about South America's history and its people.

A senior member of Chile's Communist Party, his writings were banned during Pinochet's military dictatorship, which ended in 1990.

An exhumation date will be decided in March.

Neruda is buried next to his wife Matilde Urrutia in Isla Negra, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the capital Santiago. He won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Pablo Neruda Foundation said it learned a few days ago from Judge Mario Carroza of his decision to have the remains of the poet exhumed.

The investigation began last year after a complaint was filed by the Chilean Communist Party.

The complaint came after Neruda's driver, Manuel Araya, declared publicly that Pinochet agents poisoned Neruda while he was hospitalized with cancer.

Araya said Neruda had been at home in Isla Negra but was taken to a clinic in Santiago when his condition worsened. While in the clinic, regime agents gave him a lethal injection, said Araya, who is now 65.

Pinochet ordered Neruda killed to keep him from traveling to Mexico, where he could speak out and lead opposition to Pinochet, according to Araya.

"For years, I knocked on doors and no one listened to me. I always thought I would die without this truth being known," the former driver once told AFP in an interview.

The Pablo Neruda Foundation has denied Neruda was murdered, and says it still believes cancer did him in.

It expressed hope that the exhumation would be conducted "with the greatest possible respect and care" and would clear up "any doubts that might exist" as to how Neruda died.

Neruda's real name was Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, and he took the pen name of Pablo Neruda in memory of the Czech poet Jan Neruda.

He joined the Republican movement during the Spanish Civil War and began working on poems in the 1930s while living in Spain and France. He was elected to the Chilean Senate in 1945 and also held several diplomatic posts.

A brief part of his life inspired the Oscar-winning Italian film "Il Postino."

Chilean officials are also investigating the death of a former president, Eduardo Frei, during the regime years. Frei, who served from 1964 to 1970, died in 1982 in the same hospital as Neruda when complications arose during routine surgery.

Last year, the government also probed the cause of death of Allende, the day of the 1973 coup. It confirmed that he committed suicide as warplanes bombed the presidential palace.



세계적 작가 네루다, 사후 40년 시신 발굴

칠레 정부, 암살의혹에 수사 착수…사인 규명키로

칠레를 대표하는 시인 파블로 네루다(1904∼1973)가 암살됐다는 의혹이 제기돼 당국이 수사에 착수한 가운데 사법부가 시신 발굴을 명령 을 내렸다.

파블로 네루다 재단은 8일(현지시간) 성명을 내 사법부의 결정 내용을 전하면서 "발굴 과정에서 가능한 최상의 예우를 갖춰주길 바란다"고 밝혔다.

또 이번 발굴을 계기로 네루다의 죽음을 둘러싼 모든 의혹이 해소되길 바란다고 강조했다.  

네루다의 시신은 수도 산티아고에서 서쪽으로 120km가량 떨어진 이슬라 네그라 지역에 매장돼 있다. 발굴 날짜는 아직 정해지지 않았다.

1971년 노벨문학상 수상자이자 칠레의 대표적 좌파 인사로 알려진 네루다는  지 난 1973년 절친한 친구였던 사회주의자 살바도르 아옌데 대통령이 아우구스토  피노 체트 장군이 주도한 군부 쿠데타로 정권에서 축출돼 자살한 지 12일 만에 숨을 거뒀 다.

네루다는 당시 69세의 노령에다 전립선암을 앓는 상태에서 쿠데타의 충격으로 사망했다는 것이 정설이었다.

하지만 일각에서는 암살 의혹이 끊이지 않았다. 그가 계획했던 출국을 불과  24 시간 앞두고 사망했기 때문에 군부가 골치 아픈 장애물을 서둘러 제거했다는 설이 파다했다.

한동안 잠잠했던 암살설은 네루다의 운전사 겸 비서였던 마누엘 아라야가  2011 년 한 잡지 인터뷰에서 문제를 제기하면서 재점화했다.

그는 인터뷰에서 네루다가 항암 치료를 위해 입원한 병원에서 피노체트 정권의 요인들에게 독살당했다고 주장했다.

정확한 사인 규명을 요구하는 칠레 공산당의 청원으로 정부는 네루다가 사망한 지 40년 만인 지난해 진상 조사에 착수했다.

공산당은 앞서 아옌데 전 대통령의 자살 여부를 확인하기 위해 시신을 꺼냈던 것처럼 네루다 역시 시신을 발굴해 의혹을 해소해야 한다고 주장했다.         

정작 네루다 재단은 이같은 살해 의혹에 부정적이다. 네루다는 암으로 사망한 것이 확실하다는 것이 재단의 공식 입장이다.