Pablo Neruda Might Have Been Murdered By Pinochet Regime

It is "highly probable" that the Nobel Prize-winning poet, Pablo Neruda did not die as a result of cancer but was killed by a third party in the immediate aftermath of the 1973 coup in Chile that brought General Augusto Pinochet to power, according to the Chilean Interior Ministry.

The government released a statement on Thursday saying: "It's clearly possible and highly probable that a third party" was responsible for Neruda's death, although the government also made clear that a panel of experts has not yet reached its conclusion over the decades-long mystery, according to the Associated Press.

The poet, who was suffering from prostate cancer at the time of his death in 1973, was a close friend of Marxist President Salvador Allende, who committed suicide shortly before Pinochet's forces stormed La Moneda presidential building in Santiago in a brutal coup that ushered in 17 years of violent dictatorship. Allende was widely known for his communist views.

Neruda, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971, had planned to go into exile shortly after the coup, where he would likely have been a powerful voice of resistance. However, a day before his planned departure, he was taken by ambulance to hospital in Santiago where he died on September 23 at the age of 69. At the time the official cause of death was natural causes, but there have been ongoing suspicions in the country that he was in fact poisoned by Pinochet's henchmen.

In 2013, Neruda's body was exhumed in order that it could be tested for traces of poison, yet no evidence was found. The case was reopened earlier this year, due to pressure from the poet's family.

The poet's chauffeur has always maintained that Pinochet's agents took advantage of Neruda's illness to inject poison into his stomach while he was bedridden in hospital.