Chilean poet Pablo Neruda remembered on 114th birth anniversary

SANTIAGO – This July 12, 2018 marks the 114th anniversary of the birth of one of the most outstanding poets of Latin America: Pablo Neruda, who was also a senator and political activist.

Considered one of the most celebrated poets of all time, Pablo Neruda hardly requires an introduction. His words, throbbing with love and longing, continue to move readers even till date.

The Chilean was born in 1904 under the name of Ricardo Eliécer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto. But he changed it to Pablo Neruda when he was hardly a child. He never clarified why he did it and when he was questioned about it. Some hypotheses suggest that it was taken from the Czech writer Jan Neruda.

A countless number of works and poems such as ‘Si tú me olvidas’ and the more than famous and dedicated “I like it when you are silent because you are absent …”, made him one of the most important 20th century poets, winner of the Nobel Prize of Literature in the year 1971.

His works have inspired many artists and his romanticism has been carved into the history of literature, leaving us a legacy of timeless verses that are still borrowed from lovers all over the world.

“If nothing saves us from death, may love at least save us from life.”

On his 114th birth anniversary, tributes are pouring in from all over the world with people sharing his most heart wrenching quotes on social media.

The Nobel Laureate was said to have died of cancer in 1973, less than two weeks after a military coup led by General Augusto Pinochet. But his former driver Manuel Araya maintains he actually died after being poisoned by the secret service.

New tests on Neruda’s remains confirmed last October that he did not die of cancer.

The poet was suffering from prostate cancer, but it was not life-threatening – leading the 16 international experts to conclude a third party could have possibly been involved. His remains were exhumed on a judge’s orders in 2013.

Nobel-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda didn’t die of cancer

Neruda was a supporter and personal friend of Chile’s deposed socialist President, Salvador Allende, who killed himself rather than surrender to troops during the September 11, 1973, right-wing coup led by Pinochet.

Neruda was traumatized by the military takeover and the persecution and killing of his friends. He planned to go into exile, where he would have been an influential voice against the dictatorship.

But a day before his planned departure, he was taken by ambulance to a clinic in Santiago where he had been treated for cancer and other ailments.