HAT MONTHLY MEETING
SAT JUNE 15, 2013, 1:30-3p,
OISE, 252 Bloor Street West
TOPIC: “The Mysterious Death of Poet Pablo Neruda: Politics and Culture in Chile.”
SPEAKER: Dr. Luis Fornazzari
Pablo Neruda (1904-1973), winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, has been called “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.” When communism was outlawed in Chile in 1948, an arrest warrant was issued for Neruda, a communist, sending him into hiding and eventually into exile. He returned many years later and became a close advisor to socialist President Salvador Allende. At the time of the coup against Allende led by General Augusto Pinochet, Neruda was hospitalized with cancer and died three days later. There are suspicions that the junta had a hand in his death.
In June 2011 a Chilean judge ordered that an investigation be launched following suggestions that Neruda had been murdered by the Pinochet regime for his pro-Allende stance and political views. Enough evidence was uncovered to order an exhumation of Neruda’s body in April 2013 to determine if he had been poisoned.
Enter Dr. Luis Fornazzari, a behavioural neurologist and assistant professor in medicine at the University of Toronto. He is a Chilean-Canadian medical authority who has followed the case closely. Dr. Fornazzari was born and raised in Chile and has lived in Canada since 1974, after fleeing his native country following the coup that brought Pinochet to power. Dr. Fornazzari will discuss his role in this attempt to solve the mysterious death of Pablo Neruda and his personal experience of the political turmoil that brought him to Canada in 1974. This will be a fascinating afternoon, mixing forensics, intrigue and poetry. We may even read a few poems!