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Post re: Intellectuals: on Neruda (Carlos Lopez, US; ex-Chile)
Created by John Eipper on 01/27/09 5:14 PM - re-intellectuals-on-neruda-carlos-lopez-us-ex-chile

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re: Intellectuals: on Neruda (Carlos Lopez, US; ex-Chile) (John Eipper, USA, 01/27/09 5:14 pm)

Carlos Lopez writes: Being that I am probably the only WAISer who knew Neruda personally, I feel obligated to contribute to this discussion. I was a child when I first met Neruda. He was married then to Delia del Carril, la Hormiguita, who was a good friend of my parents. She was an avowed Communist. He was a very nice person. He and my mother discussed poetry one time in a house he had on the coast. It was a beauty overlooking the ocean. Pablo sold it years later. Years later, during the election of Gabriel Gonzalez, Neruda took an active part in the political campaign. He wrote a great poem, "El pueblo lo llama Gabriel" which is nowhere to be found today. It was also the time when he wrote his second love song to Stalingrad. I loved it as he read in our house one night. He was elected senator and his speeches in congress were a disaster. He denounced this and that and never said anything positive. They can be read in the Chilean Congressional Record. I believe that this will confirm that he was a political cretin. His supposed exile from Chile is to a great degree, a fake. He stayed in Chile for a while. Everybody knew where he was. No effort was made to apprehend him. The Communist Party decided to paint the walls around Santiago with Neruda in red letters. The government answered by adding the word "traidor" after his name. Campaign defeated. When he finally left, he stayed in Buenos Aires and Paris in the house of my aunt Carmen Lopez. I saw him one more time in Chile upon his return, when he came to Parral, our home town, to give a speech. There are two instances in which he showed me very little intellectual capacity. The first was at the house of Fernando Alegria in Berkeley. He wanted to learn more about Joaquin Murrieta. He refused all documentary proof. Murrieta was a Chilean. That was what he wanted and that was they way is was going to be. But he did listen to Fernando, who insisted that rather than a poem it needed to be a drama. Thus the Cantata was born. The last time I saw him was at the Chilean Embassy in Paris in 1972. I told him about my mother's troubles with the expropition of her ranch. He said he was sorry but that this were changes needed to change society. He discussed a possible kinship between my mother and Matilde Urrutia. She somehow admitted that she decendend from some of our Urrutias. He told me that my father was an aristocrat but with very advanced ideas. And as far a Murrieta was concerned: he was more stubborn than a burro: "he was a young man from Quillota; I have seen the proof." That was that. He was a Stalinist, a great poet and a very stubborn man. JE comments: I am in awe and extremely grateful to Carlos Lopez for this WAIS exclusive. Newer WAISers may not know that Carlos has recently retired as President of Menlo College in Menlo Park, California. The day after WAIS '06, I spent a fascinating hour with him in the presidential office, discussing Chilean history. Carlos: I hope you are well; when you get the chance, I'd love to hear what you've been up to lately. -- For information about the World Association of International Studies (WAIS), and its online publication, the World Affairs Report, read its homepage by simply double-clicking on: http://wais.stanford.edu/ John Eipper, Editor-in-Chief, Adrian College, MI 49221 USA


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