The Chilean court of appeals has reopened the investigation into the death of poet Pablo Neruda in 1973.

The Chilean court of appeals has reopened the investigation into the death of poet Pablo Neruda in 1973.

26-year-old Héctor Núñez, who was shot in the eye during a protest last year, would be tried as attempted murder

A court of appeals in Santiago, Chile has decided to prosecute the case of Héctor Núñez, a 26-year-old who was injured by a gunshot to the eye during a demonstration last year, as an attempted murder. was officially declared as murder.

The passing of Chilean poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda was officially deemed a homicide.

The possibility of reopening the case has been mentioned, as it is believed that the investigation was not thorough enough and further measures could provide insight into the reason for his passing.

evidence of murder

In December of last year, a judge denied the appeal made by Neruda’s nephew to reopen the case in search of evidence of homicide.

other reasons for mortality besides cancer

This is the cause of death indicated on the poet’s official death record.

In February of 2023, Rodolfo Reyes, the nephew, announced that forensic specialists from Canada, Denmark, and Chile had discovered proof suggesting that Neruda’s death over 50 years ago was caused by poisoning.

The official stance in post-coup Chile has always been that Neruda passed away due to prostate cancer-related complications. However, for many years, the poet’s driver has contended that he was actually poisoned.

The judge declared in December that the forensic findings had either been completed or were delayed, but ultimately did not produce any significant leads.


Pablo Neruda, a Chilean writer, poet, and diplomat who was serving as an ambassador in France at the time, responded to reporters’ inquiries on October 21, 1971 alongside his wife at the Chilean embassy in Paris, following his receipt of the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Photo by AFP via Getty Images

Some time before, other experts in forensics from different countries had already refuted the accepted reason for death as cachexia, a condition of weakness and deterioration of the body caused by a long-term illness – in this situation, cancer. However, they had stated that they had not yet determined the true cause of Neruda’s death.

The appeals court has unanimously overturned the judge’s decision and mandated that the procedures requested by the nephew must be completed. These procedures involve analyzing the handwriting on the death certificate, conducting a comprehensive review of test results from international organizations, and obtaining statements from Chile’s documentation project and a specialist in Clostridium botulinum.

Neruda, a Communist Party member, died 12 days after the 1973 military coup that toppled the government of President Salvador Allende and hours before he was to leave Chile for exile in Mexico. The coup put Gen. Augusto Pinochet in power.

In 2013, Neruda’s remains were dug up in order to investigate the reason for his death. However, the tests conducted did not reveal any presence of harmful substances or toxins in his bones. Both his family and driver had requested for a deeper examination.

In 2015, the Chilean government stated that there was a strong likelihood that someone else was responsible for Neruda’s death. In 2017, officials announced the finding of traces of the Clostridium botulinum bacteria in his skeletal remains and a tooth.

Neruda’s final resting place was moved to his beloved residence with a view of the Pacific Ocean.

Pablo Neruda, renowned for his romantic poetry, was acquainted with Allende, who chose to take his own life instead of submitting to forces during the overthrow led by Pinochet.

Neruda experienced deep emotional distress due to the military’s seizure of power and the targeting and murder of his close companions. He intended to flee the country and use his influence to speak out against the oppressive regime.

The day before he was scheduled to leave, he was transported by ambulance to a medical facility in Santiago, Chile, where he had been receiving treatment for cancer and other illnesses. Neruda passed away at this clinic on September 23, 1973.

However, doubts about the involvement of the dictatorship in the death persisted even after Chile transitioned back to a democratic government in 1990.

Throughout his lifetime, Neruda received numerous accolades, including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.