This year an old parliamentary motion has been reactivated in Chile to rename the international airport of Santiago with the name of the Nobel Prize for Literature Pablo Neruda (1904-1973). Although in Congress the measure has some support, its processing has generated controversy because there are feminist groups that reproach the bad behavior of the writer with women, which includes the abandonment of a sick daughter and a rape reported in his book posthumous memories, I confess that I have lived. The voices opposed to the initiative have included an alternative name proposal to rename the aerodrome of the Chilean capital: that of the poet and also Nobel Prize for Literature Gabriela Mistral.
The project for Neruda, one of the most recognizable faces in Chile around the world, gives its name to Santiago airport was originally presented in 2011. The text argued: "The great Chilean poet is considered among the best and most influential of his century, being called by the novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez 'The greatest poet of the twentieth century in any language'. However, since the initiative was revived last month, feminist organizations have rejected it, ensuring that, at the height of the Me Too movement, it would offer a bad image of the country abroad.
The controversial writing of the poet's memories relates that he sexually forced a young maid in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), where he held a diplomatic position in 1929. In an explicit style, Neruda says that the girl ignored him and then he took her to his room to end with a meeting that was "like that of a man and a statue. She kept her eyes wide open all the time, completely unconscious. "
Among those who criticize Neruda is the journalist and deputy of the Humanist Party (left) Pamela Jiles, who has declared: "There are not the times to pay tribute to an abuser of women, who abandoned her sick daughter and confessed a rape, less as an image country, "adds Jiles, who insists on the alternative proposal to call the airport Gabriela Mistral. In addition to the alleged sexual assault, Neruda is marked by Malva Marina, his daughter, whom he called "three-killer vampire."
That story appears in a fictional story called Mallow, of the Dutch poet Hagan Peeters, in which it is said that the girl was born in 1934, with hydrocephalus, and died only eight years later abandoned by her father. When the story spread in 2016, the Pablo Neruda Foundation, which preserves the author's legacy, issued a note in which they assure that the separation was by mutual agreement and that "Neruda went to see his daughter the last time he could do it. , in 1939, in the last trip he could make to Europe, to embark the Spanish republicans in the Winnipeg. "
"That [la presunta violación] It will come out in the discussion and will continue to be part of the debate. It is a sensitive issue, "admits socialist Marcelo Diaz, president of the Culture Commission, adding:" They are delicate antecedents, but the work is being honored. While this kind of questioning makes sense, that does not mean that Pablo Neruda remains one of the most important poets not only of Chile, but of the world "
But in addition to the artistic legacy, the promoters of the project highlight the political importance of Pablo Neruda, who was a militant communist, senator, diplomat and, in a final stage, resigned a presidential candidacy in favor of Salvador Allende. The Nobel Prize died a few days after the overthrow of Allende by the military dictatorship led by Augusto Pinochet. According to what was reported at the time, it was a cancer of the pancreas, but recent expert opinions known in 2017 They dismiss this version and some experts point to a murder.
While the controversy is resolved, the international airport of Santiago will continue to be called Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, father of Chilean aviation. For the change to be effective, the idea must still pass several stages in the Chamber of Deputies and then in the Senate. Another of the doubts that weigh on the initiative is the cost that would have for the State to make these modifications.