Chile tackles questions about Allende and Neruda deaths

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They were towering figures in 20th Century Chile: Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda, the president and the poet, two men united in life by their left-wing politics, and divided in death by a matter of days.

For years, Chileans have been taught that Mr Allende committed suicide during the military coup of 11 September, 1973, and that Mr Neruda died 12 days later of heart failure brought on by prostate cancer.

But now, both deaths are under investigation.

In both cases, the Chilean military stands accused of murder and the country's former dictator General Augusto Pinochet is once again in the metaphorical dock.

The evidence against the military is far from conclusive.

In the case of Pablo Neruda, it rests largely on the testimony of one man, Manuel Araya, the poet's personal assistant during the last year of his life.

In the case of Salvador Allende, the story is more complicated. There are several conflicting accounts of how the president died.

Last month, on the orders of a judge, his remains were exhumed and handed to forensic experts who are trying to establish what happened.... 

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