Police told to find Neruda murderer

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Forty years after the death of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, a judge ordered police to find the man that prosecutors allege may have been instrumental in poisoning him.

Mr Neruda's death was blamed on prostate cancer but lawyer Eduardo Contreras says that new evidence points the finger at agents of dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

Mr Contreras said that Dr Sergio Draper, who originally testified that he was with Mr Neruda when he died on September 23 1973, is now saying that there was another doctor named Price with the poet.

But Dr Price did not appear in any of the hospital's records as a treating doctor and Dr Draper said that he never saw him again after the day he left him with Mr Neruda.

Moreover Dr Price's description - a blonde, blue-eyed, tall man - matches Michael Townley, the CIA double agent who worked with Chilean secret police under Gen Pinochet.

Mr Townley was whipped off into the US witness protection programme immediately after admitting having killed prominent Pinochet critics in Washington and Buenos Aires.

For Mr Contreras, whoever the man was, "the important fact is that this was the person who ordered the injection" that allegedly killed Mr Neruda.

The poet's former assistant Manuel Araya also said that he believed the poet was poisoned by Pinochet agents.

The Nobel prizewinner's body was exhumed on April 8 and is being analysed by Chilean and international forensic specialists.

Reposted from Morning Star.

Photo: A painting of Pablo Neruda (right) on the side of a building in Santiago, Chile.  Rafa Alves/Flickr (CC)

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