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Neruda Exhumation After Pinochet Poison Claim
The body of Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Nerudo is to be exhumed after his former driver claimed the poet was poisoned under the regime of Augusto Pinochet.
Neruda, famed for his love poems and strong communist views, was thought to have died from prostate cancer on September 23, 1973.
Now, his former chauffeur has said Pinochet's agents used the disease as a cover - injecting poison into his stomach while he was bedridden at the Santa Maria clinic in Chilean capital Santiago.
A judge has said there is enough evidence to warrant a new post-mortem examination of his remains.
Neruda was a supporter of socialist President Salvador Allende, who was toppled in a military coup on September 11, 1973, nearly two weeks before the poet's death at age 69.
Around 3,000 people are thought to have been killed by the 17-year long Pinochet dictatorship that ensued.
Neruda is buried in his coastal home of Isla Negra beside his third wife, Matilde Urrutia.
He will be dug up in a "respectful" operation in April, officials said.
While best known for his intense collection, Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, published in 1924, Neruda was also an important political activist during a turbulent time in Chile.
He organised a ship to bring around 2,000 Spanish refugees fleeing the civil war to Chile in 1939, campaigned for Allende and was ambassador to France during the socialist's presidency.