Member Blogs > Books Tell You WhyThe Politics of Exhuming Pablo Neruda

  • Fri, 15 May 2015 08:00:00    Permalink

    In 1973, Augusto Pinochet seized power in Chile, installing himself as leader in one of the longest-running dictatorships in modern history. Given Pablo Neruda’s powerful voice as a leftist poet, he was targeted by the Pinochet regime. Indeed, Pinochet sent soldiers to destroy Neruda’s library at La Chascona, his home in Santiago. Neruda died just twelve days after the coup. While many Chileans and others worldwide knew that Neruda had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the timing of his death led to questions about whether he actually had been a victim of the Pinochet regime. As a result, nearly forty years later, plans were made to exhume Neruda and to reexamine his cause of death—not once, but twice.

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