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You’ve probably all heard already that in honor of National Poetry Month Pablo Neruda’s body was exhumed yesterday. Well, no it has nothing to do with National Poetry Month, it is just a (lucky?) coincidence. Do any of you find the exhumation bizzare or is it just me? There were even musicians playing music during the event!

Neruda has been dead and buried for 40 years. The exhumation is intended to discover whether he was poisoned by the new military rulers after the coup in Chile because he was a supporter of President Allende or if he really did die of prostate cancer. How much is left of a body after 40 years of decomposing? And if he was poisoned would any of it still be present in Neruda’s remains?

Neruda’s relatives and friends don’t believe he was poisoned nor does the Pablo Neruda Foundation that manages his estate. This whole thing is happening because Neruda’s driver, Manuel Araya, claims Neruda told him that a doctor at the clinic he had been admitted to gave him an injection in his stomach that made him “burn inside.” Araya says he told the Communist Party at the time but they wouldn’t listen to him. Now he has gone to the party again and they filed a criminal lawsuit. The judge in charge of the investigation has decided the possibility is worth checking out.

So what if the results, which won’t be ready for several months, reveal Neruda was poisoned? Are they then going to try to track down the doctor who gave Neruda that injection and try him for murder? And what if the doctor is no longer alive? I fail to see what the point of the whole thing is. What sort of vindication or justice would be available after all this time? And who will it benefit? Certainly not Neruda’s family since they don’t even believe he was poisoned and had nothing to do with his exhumation. It seems Araya is the only one who has been concerned about it all these years. What is he hoping to gain if he is proved right? I have to give him credit for his firm convictions though because if he is proved wrong he will become an internationally known idiot. I guess we’ll find out in a few months.

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