Latin America & Caribbean

Chilean poet Pablo Neruda death probe inconclusive

BBC Latin American Service Pablo Neruda 01/01/1965 London
Image caption Pablo Neruda (L) was interviewed in London in 1965 by the BBC's Latin American service

Spanish scientists investigating the death of the world famous left-wing Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, in 1973 say they have found no conclusive evidence that he was poisoned.

The Chilean government reopened an investigation in January with new tests on his remains for protein traces caused by poisoning.

The investigators said they had found proteins explained by natural causes including advanced prostate cancer.

Tests in 2013 uncovered nothing.

The source of a third protein was not immediately clear but it was probably caused by an infection or the posthumous manipulation of the remains, the investigators said.

A final round of DNA testing is still expected to take place.

Pablo Neruda is presumed to have died of cancer days after the military coup in 1973.

His driver has alleged that agents of General Augusto Pinochet, who was leading the military coup, had taken advantage of Mr Neruda's illness to inject poison in his stomach as he lay in hospital.

Pablo Neruda, a Nobel laureate, was famed for his passionate love poems and his outspoken communist views.

His supporters and family are divided on whether researchers should continue the tests or whether his remains should be returned to his grave near his coastal home of Isla Negra.

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